In loving memory: Ragnhild Sunde

Ragnhild SundeRagnhild Sunde
June 5, 1930 – Nov. 19, 2020

Ragnhild Sunde passed away on Nov. 19, 2020, in Naples, Fla. at age 90. She was preceded in death by her parents, Torodd and Olga Sunde, and her beloved husband, Homer O. Mains Jr. She is survived by her two children, Elizabeth Mains and Frederick Sunde, both of Naples.

Sunde was born on June 5 in Oslo. As a young 10-year-old child there, she encountered the Nazi invasion of her country and family home, followed by many lean years, as Norway rebuilt itself with help from the United States.
She often used her last name, Sunde, because it was easier for people to pronounce. She grew into an amazing young woman and became the editor of a local magazine in Norway. This opportunity eventually led to her involvement in Miss Norway and her great love of ballroom dancing. She won many contests, and upon her retirement in Florida, she returned to her favorite hobby in professional-amateur competitions.

While still in Norway, Sunde met and married Homer O. Mains Jr., a handsome U.S. Navy officer stationed there. During his 30 years of military service, the U.S. Navy transferred them around the world.
Soon their children arrived, first a daughter, Elizabeth, followed by a son, Frederick. Their travels gave the children a splendid cultural experience, but at the same time, it made saying goodbye to many dear friends quite challenging.
After Homer’s military retirement, the couple purchased a bed & breakfast in Virginia. It included a small Scandinavian gift shop, which the children helped run. Sunde enjoyed organizing Scandinavian folk festivals and Syttende Mai parades.

After her husband’s death in 1999, Sunde relocated to Naples, Fla., to be with her family. She continued her active life, giving many lectures about her experiences as a child during World War II in Norway. She also served on many boards in various roles, helping wherever she could. Her favorite role was serving as a newsletter editor.
Sunde decided to join the Toastmistress Club, which allowed her the opportunity to use her speaking skills. (Women were not allowed to join the Toastmasters Club). In 2019, Toastmasters International honored her with a lifetime achievement award. It thrilled Sunde, as English was her second language.

As a member of the Christus Victor Church in North Naples, she gave the welcome for the quarterly services of the
Norwegian Seamen’s Church from Davie, Fla., in a friendly gathering of Scandinavian friends.
Throughout her many years in Naples, Sunde participated in countless clubs and hobbies. She had a fascination with Lego, which soon took over her home. Her health continued to decline, and in 2014, she underwent major heart surgery. After recuperating, she forged ahead with her many projects while chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) made her journey more challenging.

Sunde was a leader and a trailblazer, who gave her whole heart to all she did. She was a true renaissance woman who battled COPD like a Viking warrior for 20 years. May she rest in peace, although her friends imagine she is already directing “traffic” up there in Valhalla.

Her pastor, Thomas Slater, will hold a private service in the memorial garden behind her church at a time to be determined. For details, you may contact her daughter:
Elizabeth Mains
2246 Stacil Circle
Naples, FL 34109
Cell phone: (239) 273-0887
E-mail:  esundemains@gmail.com

If you should know someone wishing to learn more about Sunde’s history in Norway, search the internet for “Ragnhild Sunde” and click on “Naples woman shares memories of Nazi occupation of her homeland in 1940.”
You may also donate to Sunde’s memorial fund at gofundme.com/ragnhild-sunde-mains-memorial.

The Norwegian American

Published since May 17, 1889 PO Box 30863 Seattle WA 98113 Tel: (206) 784-4617 • Email: naw@na-weekly.com

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