New DON lodge installed in N.D.

Moving ceremony marks the beginning of Rosanna Gutterud Johnsrud Lodge #53

Photo: Warner Knudson From left to right: Sonja Johnston, daughter of Rosanna Gutterud Johnsrud, is the first to sign the charter of the new lodge. Sonja’s daughter, Rosanna Johnston, who is named for her grandmother, and Debi Feyh, newly elected President of the Lodge, are ready for signatures. Marcia Comer, Grand Lodge Secretary, supervises the signing of the charter.

Photo: Warner Knudson
From left to right: Sonja Johnston, daughter of Rosanna Gutterud Johnsrud, is the first to sign the charter of the new lodge. Sonja’s daughter, Rosanna Johnston, who is named for her grandmother, and Debi Feyh, newly elected President of the Lodge, are ready for signatures. Marcia Comer, Grand Lodge Secretary, supervises the signing of the charter.

Larrie Wanberg
Features Editor

“We are the newest and could be the biggest lodge in the U.S.,” said Debi Feyh, initial president of Rosanna Gutterud Johnsrud Lodge #53 in West Fargo, N.D., on Saturday, October 11, at Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church.

The installation ceremonies for the namesake were festive, moving, and meaningful in honoring the poet, playwright, and musician, who was born in Fairdale, N.D., in 1912 and died at age 90 in 2002. She was married 58 years to Emore Johnsrud of Dahlen, N.D. They frequently performed together at functions, as he played the accordion and she was a classic violinist.

In her lifetime, Rosanna left a legacy of creative, cultural arts to her daughter, Sonja Johnston of Burnsville, Minn., and son Julian Johnsrud of Toledo, Ohio, and their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who attended the event in numbers.

Son Julian read a poem, “One Night in Spring,” from his mother’s collection entitled Rhymes.

If I could paint—with light,
Immortal touch upon a canvas white,
I’d place this moon that I behold tonight,
If I could paint.

If I could sing—I’d sing
a tender melody to lovely spring,
whose golden echo would forever ring,
If I could sing.

If I could speak—and though
I left no mortal word unsaid, I know
I could not speak the beauty here below—
the majesty of stars above my head,
The dew—the grass—the low,
soft murmured dreams
of the flowers in their bed—
If I could speak.

Daughter Sonja reflected on her “shy” mother— “humble … curious about everything … philosophy … religion … peace. She captured much of the joy we feel in our daily lives.”

Rosanna’s most common response to those who commented on her talents was, “Oh, my goodness.”

And “goodness” was what she nurtured in her quiet way.

“My mother had three priorities,” said Sonja, “family, music, and Norway.”

Rosanna’s granddaughter, Joanna Johnston, a operatic vocalist from New York, accompanied by her mother at the piano, sang the stirring “Solveig’s Song” by Edvard Grieg as a closing to the cultural program.

Anyone with a Norwegian ancestral grandmother, mother, or spouse had a “lump in their throat or moist eyes” as a family vocalist delivered the moving melody and words of classic Norway in song.

The installation of officers followed traditions. Jill Beatty, Grand Lodge Organization Chair from San Francisco, coordinated the ceremonies, and Grand Lodge President Ronna Clymens chaired the installations.

The afternoon ended with another cultural tradition of “Daughters”—a long buffet table laden with favorite Norwegian goodies, at least a dozen varieties, coordinated by Dave Feyh, chef and husband of Lodge #53 president, and gathered from dozens of area kitchens of the new charter members.

The first thing I did, after savoring a few lefse and some krumkaker, was to call my daughter in California and tell her that I wanted to gift her a charter membership as a first-generation “daughter.”

For more information, contact Membership Chair Karen Freeman by Lodge email at daughtersofnorway53@gmail.com. Charter memberships are available for signature until November 8, when the charter is sealed.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 24, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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