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Dr. Clifford Jennings Stadem, 86

Dr. Clifford Jennings Stadem, 86, of East Grand Forks, MN, and a former longtime Crookston, MN physician, passed away peacefully Monday afternoon, February 6, 2012, at Valley Eldercare in Grand Forks, ND, with his wife, Gladys, and family at his side. 

On his own terms Dad (Taid to his grandchildren) had decided he had run his course in this life, and was confident as to where his next journey would take him.  He chose his son Karl’s 60th birthday to leave.  Dad started life as the only child of Norwegian immigrants Fritdjof Stadem and Helga Jacobson on July 30, 1925 in Minneapolis, and was christened Clifford Jennings Stadem.  The “Jennings” dad said came from Williams Jennings Bryant.  He was not just the only child, but the only nephew, of his several aunts on both of his parents sides of the family; all immigrants from Norway, and whom remained unmarried. There was always an abundance of attention offered their “Clifford” whither at home or on his summer visits to Grandpa and Grandma Jacobson’s and Uncle Charlie’s farm; near the Mouse River in north central North Dakota. He traveled  by the way of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and this instilled a memory that nurtured his lifelong love of railroads. After his graduation from Roosevelt High in south Minneapolis in 1943, Dad enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s pre-med program.  At the U of M he continued to pursue his passion for learning and knowledge, and chose the vocation that would define his place in the community. It was while attending Med school at the U that Dad met, on a blind date, Gladys Davis, who would become his partner in life and would share his love of music, friends, and most importantly, family.  They were married on July 31st, 1948, in Lake Crystal, Minnesota, mom’s hometown. In early 1951, Dad graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Medical School and soon moved to Twin Valley, MN to begin his medical practice as a General Practitioner in the newly built community clinic.  Their first child, Karl Fredrick, was born in early ’52.  Four more were to follow: Paul David in ’53, Rebecca Louise in ’54, Mark Joseph in ’56, and Hugh Thomas in ’58.  The five of us kept both folks very busy; especially Mom, who after all really had six to take care of. Dad practiced in Twin Valley until the summer of 1967, when he moved the family to Crookston, MN and began his practice at the Crookston Clinic.  Before settling in Crookston, he purchased a lot on Tulaby Lake on the White Earth Reservation, west of Itasca State Park, in 1960.  The lot (eventually a cabin) not only provided a continuous link with the families we grew up with, but also provided the center gathering point for our family and friends as we grew, created our families and began to carve out our lives.  It was the venue that fed our passions for fishing, hunting, exploring, cross country skiing, and enjoying the company of friends. Dad practiced in Crookston until his retirement in the summer of 1991.  Mom and Dad sold their home in Crookston that year and began to live their retirement dream; summers at the lake and winters in Tucson, AZ.  In recent years the changes brought on by old age led Mom and Dad to sell their home at the lake and move full time to a newly constructed home in East Grand Forks, closer to their children. Dad never lost his thirst for knowledge and the challenges it brought to his active mind.  He especially enjoyed the study of languages and history.  He was a member of the Great Northern Railroad Historical Society and Arizona Historical Society.  A look through his extensive library would demonstrate a wider interest in U.S. and world history.  He was a member of the Sons of Norway since 1944, Dovre Lodge 1, a lodge that his father helped found in Minneapolis.  He was a Mason for over 50 years, as well as, several other organizations he felt reflected his views and were worthy of his support.

All his early care givers; his parents, aunts, and grandparents went before over the years; and many good friends that he shared his love of life and common interests with, which made for deep friendships, all missed.  His father passed in 1953 at the age of 66, but not before he was able to see and hold his first grandchild; his mother followed in 1978.  But the most painful losses were those of his son, Karl, in 1980; and daughter-in-law, DeeDee, in 2011.  He was so grateful to have had them in his life and to bear witness to their love and their legacy of family; but never escaping the feeling that both left too soon and out of the order that one puts life into.  Karl left a beautiful first grandchild, Maura Anne, who in turn brought Mom and Dad their first Great Grand Child, Porter Karl, in April 2010.  DeeDee had been such a compassionate and selfless caregiver to both Mom and Dad the last several years as their needs increased until her own personal health made that impossible.  She volunteered to drive Mom and Dad to Tucson each fall and back to Minnesota the following spring for several years.  Can you imagine?!

Left to continue, and care for each other, are Paul, and Paul & DeeDee’s children Nick & Erica; Rebecca and husband, Bill Knox, along with children Megan & Will; Mark and wife, Becky, (yes, there are two Becky Stadem’s!) and their children Sam, Hanna and Hans; and fifth child, Hugh and partner, Jeanie Olson; Karl and Beth’s daughter, Maura, and husband, Gwydion, and their son, Porter Karl; and Beth and her husband, Neal Carlson, and their daughter, Bridget.  All of whom now will care for Dad’s loving wife and partner of almost 64 years, Gladys, our mother, Nain (grandmother in Welsh) and Great Grand Mother.  Dad left this world feeling proud of his accomplishments in life and family, as well as, the level of care he was honored to provide those that entrusted him in his professional life.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be given in Dad’s memory to either the Karl Stadem Memorial Endowment Scholarship Fund at the University of North Dakota School Of Physical Therapy at University of North Dakota Foundation, 3100 University Ave, Box 8157, Grand Forks ND 58202 or the Dianna Stadem Endowment at Altru Clinic Health Foundation PO Box 6002, Grand Forks ND 68206.

A funeral service celebrating the life of Dr. Clifford J. Stadem will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, February 11, 2012, at the First Presbyterian Church in Crookston, MN with The Rev. Daniel Wolpert and The Rev. Keri Shelton, co-officiating. Visitation will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston on Friday from 5-7:00 p.m., with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service and time of sharing memories. Visitation will also be at the church for one prior to the funeral. Interment will be in the Oakdale Cemetery, Crookston

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