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Gladys May (Davis) Stadem, 87

Gladys May (Davis) Stadem passed to join Dad, Karl, DeeDee, her siblings and friends, on the morning of Thursday, December 19th, at the Valley Elder Care in Grand Forks, ND. Mom was 87 years. She was the loving wife of Cliff who passed on February 6th, 2012. Mother of Karl, Paul, Rebecca, Mark and Hugh; and Beth, Neal, DeeDee, Bill, Becky B. and Jeannie. Nain (Grandmother in Welsh) to Maura (and Gwydion), Bridget, Nick (and Katie), Erica, Megan, Will, Sam, Hanna and Hans. Hen-Nain (great-grandma) to Porter and Maisie.

Mom was born the fifth child of Welsh immigrants, Margaret Roberts and David Davis in Lake Crystal, MN on September 30th, 1926. She had a deep love for choral music, intrinsic of the Welch people, as well as, fine classic & operatic music.  The love of music was a shared passion with Dad that they passed on and shared with their children and grandchildren. But the most important value Mom passed on to us was the partnership she shared with Dad. In that partnership, and unrecognized to us five kids growing up (6 counting Dad), she at times had her hands full. Don’t get me wrong, she knew when to put her foot down. That partnership enjoyed seeing and trying life’s many offerings and opportunities, but mostly the company of friends, we kids, and our friends. The mixing of generations was a pallet they encouraged.

Outside of family, Mom was of the generation that valued accomplishment and tasks completed at the end of a day.  We remember her and her sisters and cousin sitting around the living room to the sound of “clinking” knitting needles as they visited without so much as a thought, except to stop occasionally to count stitches, to those ever moving hands. Her time spent in the kitchen preparing meals; I remember the “hotdishes”, in the days before the microwave, she could keep a hotdish warm in the oven for Dad whenever he got home & after feeding the kids. “Putting up” the preserves from the garden or the fruit she ordered from Harry & David. She wasn’t afraid to try new recipes; her spaghetti sauce and beef stroganoff were a couple of favorites, too many others to mention.  (Although I know we can all sit around and remember and share our personal favorites).  Shared holiday dinners with the Kinkades’- the smells of the house on those days when she and Mary prepared incredible meals, Easter with the Cecil’s and the annual Fish Fry on Labor Day Sunday at Tulaby with the Syverson’s, Pederson’s and friends. These are all traditions that continue to play out to this day, somewhat changed, but still there.

Another intrinsic trait of the Welsh is their frugality. She was fond of saying, (as she heard her mother say) “the Welsh could live on what a Scotsman throws away”. However, she was inadvertently scolded by her sisters when Paul asked them if they “cut the mold off their bread (as he saw mom do once)”. Their response was, and it came quick, “NO, we pick it off, you waste too much by cutting it off”. Her sense of humor matched Dad’s.

The cabin at Tulaby in the White Earth country was an especially fond place for Mom. There were so many wonderful and peaceful memories at the “lake”. She watched us all grow up in & out of the water, in the woods hunting & on the snow skiing; constantly busy running from one place to another. Not unlike the life we all experienced in Twin Valley before moving to Crookston in 1967. Those were the days when we ran out the door after breakfast and returned when we heard the dinner “tri-angle”. There was a chorus of mothers hollering for the “kids (all their names), time for supper!” in the neighborhood. I don’t think she ever worried too much where we were or what we were getting into. Years later, she would say, “I don’t want to know any more; I thought you were good kids” when we’d recall some escapade. She made and created friendships in Twin Valley that lasted the remainder of her life, and ours.

She and Dad retired to Tucson to split their time between the lake and Arizona. It had been a long standing dream for them to “head south” that they first experienced the winter of ’65.  So much so, they took all us kids that summer to experience the state; it’s desert flora & fauna, and asphalt that we had no idea could get sooo hot. She leaves many friends and an adopted family in Tucson, the Hughes and Kada. These summer trips were a regular tradition that introduced us to a good part of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and Canada, as well as Mexico. We pulled first the Avion travel trailer, then Holiday Rambler behind the station wagon. Setting up each night in anxious anticipation as Dad “leveled” the trailer. A time of great anxiety! (couldn’t be a half bubble off!). There were the pictures of us boys in shorts and cowboy boots?! It was a wonderful childhood that Mom made happen. Motherhood not given up easily as was demonstrated not long ago when she asked us our permission for her to go into hospice so she could “move onto the next stage of life”, this after long since abdicating her nurturing and rearing responsibilities to the passage of our “growing up” and living our own choices. 

Some may think that mom’s passing in the season just before Christmas would be a tough time to say good bye. But this is a time she so loved; the music, the family gatherings, the gathering of friends & the music, the music! She has been a Mom to many; her kids, kids along the way who needed some help, and the kids of Mom & Dad’s friends, a passing of a generation; greatly missed every one of them, but always with us.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Mom’s memory to either the Karl Stadem Memorial Endowment Scholarship Fund at the University of North Dakota School Of Physical Therapy at the University of North Dakota Foundation, 3100 University Ave, Box 8157, Grand Forks, ND 58202 or the Diana Stadem Endowment at Altru Clinic Health Foundation, PO Box 6002, Grand Forks, ND 58206.

A memorial service celebrating the life of Gladys Stadem will be held at 2:00 pm, Monday, December 23, 2013, in the Mendenhall Presbyterian Church, East Grand Forks, MN, with The Rev. Keri Shelton, officiating. Visitation with her family will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston from 5-7:00pm Sunday, with prayer service and memory sharing at 7:00pm, and at the church on Monday for one hour prior to the service. Burial will take place in the Oakdale Cemetery, Crookston.

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