Pam (Johnson) Undeberg’s father Kenneth Johnson fought for nearly 16 years with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)— requiring a transplant— before passing away 13 years ago on January 1. Now, Undeberg is showing the same type of attitude her father showed after she had a stroke on Halloween last year.
“She’s got a determination like her father did,” said Mary Ann Johnson, Pam’s mother and Kenneth’s wife. “… He wouldn’t let it put him down. He fought.”
Johnson spoke about her daughter as a person and her health battle, the impact this had on Johnson as Pam’s mom, the support Pam has received, the upcoming benefit for her, and what it would mean to see strong support at this benefit.
The daughter of Mary Ann and the late Kenneth Johnson, Pam Undeberg grew up in Greenbush and graduated from Heritage Christian School in Karlstad in 1989. She is the second oldest in a family of six. Married to Tim Undeberg, Pam currently lives in Halma. She was working for the pipeline out of Bemidji, Minn.
She has three children, including a daughter, who is in the military in North Carolina, and two sons, one who works in the gravel pits, and the other who works as a diesel mechanic in Fargo, N.D. She also has two stepsons and four granddaughters.
Asked about Pam as a person, without hesitation, Johnson said she is a caring individual. Her family is the most important thing to her, according to Johnson.
“She cares for everybody. She loves her grandkids,” Johnson said. “That was the toughest (part of this) for her: not to see them (her grandchildren).”
Speaking about her daughter’s recent medical journey, Johnson first said that Pam had fought COVID. As for that Halloween night, Johnson passed along how her daughter remembered that night.
Pam remembers being on the couch and getting up to grab a pillow in a bedroom.
“Next thing she knows that (her daughter in-law) Renee is trying to wake her up,” Johnson said.
Johnson mentioned how Renee knew something was wrong, not getting an answer from Pam. Working at a nursing home, Renee understands part of the body, Johnson said.
“She (Renee) knew automatically that Pam had a stroke and she called 911,” Johnson said.
The ambulance arrived and took Pam to Thief River Falls. She was then airlifted to Sanford in Fargo.
As a result of this incident, she is paralyzed on her left side, her right leg doesn’t want to listen to her commands— not moving when it should— and her speech is also very soft.
Besides Sanford, Pam would also spend her late recovery time at PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital, also in Fargo. She would get released two months after her stroke, specifically on December 30, 2021— her birthday. She will need surgery again.
The Pam Undeberg Benefit is scheduled for Saturday, January 15, 2022 from 4 pm to 8 pm at the Halma Hall in Halma to help Pam and Tim with the medical costs she has encountered and will encounter. The event will include a spaghetti feed and silent auction. If one has donations, he or she can drop them off at or send them to Mary Ann Johnson in Greenbush (PO Box 74).
What would it mean to Johnson to see strong support for Pam at this event? She answered, with her voice cracking some under emotion.
“How much people love her and care about her.”
To see the full story, read the January 12 issue of The Tribune or the January 13 issue of the North Star News in print or online.