Edna Farsdahl, also known as “Grandma” to many, died Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in her own home surrounded by her family. She lived to be 102 years old.
Born in 1913 in Makoti, N.D., Edna grew up on a farm with five brothers and sister. Each day began with milking eight cows.
She went one year to Pacific Lutheran University in Portland while living and working as a maid. Edna took a steamship to Haines, Alaska, where she worked in an orphanage and later as a cook at the roadhouse in Chicken, Alaska. After saving enough money, she attended the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, got her educational degree and graduated with six other students, she being the only female.
In the 1940s Edna married Jim Farsdahl, yard master of the Alaska Railroad in Fairbanks. Edna became a third grade teacher. They had one child, Renee. In the summers the family always came to Homer to visit Lloyd Race, who was an adopted father to Jim. In 1972 after Jim passed away, Edna moved permanently to Homer.
Edna was a life time member of the Rosicrucian Order and did many trips with the organization, traveling to Egypt, Tibet, India, China, Japan, Peru, Australia and
Spain, and also vacationing with her daughter’s family to Europe. She enjoyed playing Scrabble with her grandson, doing cross word puzzles and working in her garden. She volunteered at the Pratt Museum for 20 years. She often played pinochle with several ladies at the Homer Senior Center. Always with a love to travel, her daughter and son-in-law took Grandma down the Alaska Highway on her last road trip when she was 98. They put a sign on the rear door of the RV that said “Travels with Grandma.” People knocked on the door just to talk to her.
Edna suffered from arthritis and could be seen walking with two ski poles. No matter if she went swimming at the local pool or traveling by air, the poles always went with her. She had a great desire for learning and her shelves were full of books. She lived for more than 35 years next door to her daughter’s family and helped in raising two grandchildren, Uwe and Nina. Edna became a great-grandmother last year to baby Sawyer. Always with a zest for life and a generous spirit, she will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Edna is survived by her sister, Racine Sheppard; her daughter, Renee’ Jahnke (husband Achim); grandchildren, Uwe Jahnke and Nina Schwabenton (husband Ken); and great-grandson, Sawyer.
A celebration of her life will take place later in the summer when family and friends can all come together.