Eileen Gail (Holmstrom) Stromlund Atkinson, beloved matriarch of her large extended family, died Thursday, January 23, 2020, at the home of her son in Harrison, AR at the age of 95. Her death was the completion of a long and meaningful life in which she faithfully served Jesus.
Eileen was born to Nels Victor & Pearl (Swedburgh) Holmstrom on the family farm in Wright Township near Strandquist, MN, on June 20, 1924. She grew up on the farm, milked cows, attended Oak Ridge country school through 8th grade, and knew the value of hard work.
Eileen married Albert Harold Stromlund on November 4, 1942 at the Mission Covenant Church Parsonage in Viking, MN. Initially, they lived on a farm purchased from Albert’s parents, then they moved to Strandquist, MN to operate the local telephone company. Eileen gave her heart to Jesus in 1948 while listening to the Old-Fashioned Revival Hour on the radio. She prayed for Albert’s salvation; he gave his heart to Jesus in 1951. The two moved to Ozark, AR in 1955 to attend Ozark Bible Institute. Their life and ministry took them to the states of Minnesota, Arkansas, Oregon, and Missouri where they pastored 7 churches and worked in numerous youth camps. They raised five children and opened their home to many others in need.
Eileen was a wonderful mom and grandma. She was a great cook including cooking at Ozark Bible Institute and many years of Bible camps. Eileen cooked using food she had grown, canned, or frozen. She was a master of taking little and turning it into much. Many of Eileen’s family and friends have decorated gifts that she created. She inherited her mother’s artistic and creative talent.
In 1987, Albert & Eileen retired in Harrison, AR and built a home on the property of their son, Rodney & Ruth Stromlund. They joined Rock Haven Ministries and delighted in supporting Rock Haven Bible Camp. Eileen taught women’s Bible classes and was the founder of the Women’s Retreat that is held annually at the camp. Albert passed away on October 27, 1996 after 54 years of marriage.
In 2003, Eileen began going fishing with Ivan Atkinson, a fellow church member who had lost his wife a few years earlier. The relationship flourished and on August 29, 2004, the two were united in marriage at the Silver Valley Church in Harrison, AR. Ivan passed away on April 24, 2015; he and Eileen enjoyed 10 1/2 years together, loving their family and faithfully serving the Lord. A special thank you to Ivan’s daughter, Mae Harp, for continuing the tradition of calling daily and to Ivan’s siblings and grandchildren who fulfilled his commission to take care of Granny Eileen after his death through visits and flowers.
Eileen was preceded in death by her parents, Victor and Pearl; husbands, Albert and Ivan; brothers, Leonard Holmstrom and Donald Holmstrom; infant sister, Verna, as well as sisters, Lorraine Setterholm and Verna Myhrer; brothers-in-law, Leslie Maurstad, Marshall Myhrer, Kenneth Setterholm, Howard Rood, and Gene Atkinson; and sisters-in-laws, Joann Holmstrom, Myrtle Holmstrom, and Dorothy Rood; and stepdaughter, Ruby Clayborn.
She leaves behind her five children, 3 stepchildren, and their families: Rodney (Ruth) Stromlund of Harrison, AR; Ruth (Alvan) Blood, Barbara (Robert) Reuter, and Marlene (Bob) Nelson all of Springfield, MO; Allan (Susie) Stromlund of Claremore, OK; Duane (Darlene) Atkinson of Vancouver, WA; Mae (Jim) Harp of Hasty, AR; and Steve (Anita) Atkinson of Harrison, AR. Also remaining are: Eileen’s step-son-in-law, Ray Clayborn of Harrison, AR; her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren; her sisters, Jean Maurstad of Warren, MN and Iris (Arnie) Maurstad of Argyle, MN; her brother Dean Holmstrom of Strandquist, MN; her sisters-in-law, Maxine Holmstrom of Strandquist, MN, Bonnie (Bill) Knowles of Purcell, OK, Betty (Jim) Gember of Lees Summit, MO, and Patsy (Pat) Daniels of Mayflower, AR; her brother-in-law, Bud (Barbara) Atkinson of Harrison, AR; and many loving nephews, nieces, and other extended family members.
Visitation is from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at Woodland Heights Baptist Church, (1001 Gipson Road). The funeral service is Monday, January 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm at Woodland Heights Baptist Church with Rev. Rodney Stromlund officiating. Burial will follow at Milam Cemetery at Silver Valley. Pallbearers are Dustin, Nathan, and Landen Kirkpatrick; Khris and Kaden Carlton; Kaleb Freiburger; and Joseph and Matthew Mahler. Honorary pallbearers are Eileen’s grandchildren, great grandchildren; and Rock Haven Mission Staff.
Memorials may be made to Rock Haven Bible Camp in care of Rock Haven Ministries, P.O. Box 40, Hasty, AR 72640 or Milam Cemetery Fund, c/o Jeannie Olsen, 2551 Clover Lane, Harrison, AR 72601.
The family wishes to express a special thank you to Dr. Kenneth Hubbard and staff, Dr. Charles Klepper and Eileen’s loving hospice caregivers from Hospice of the Hills, Harrison, AR.