Cover photo for Gladys Verna Aasen's Obituary
Gladys Verna Aasen Profile Photo
1930 Gladys 2019

Gladys Verna Aasen

September 16, 1930 — February 20, 2019

   Gladys Verna (Aaserud) Aasen, 88, died suddenly at home with her husband by her side on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.

   She was born in rural Hannaford, ND on September 16, 1930, to Otto and Martha (Lima) Aaserud and grew up in Roseville Township near Portland, ND. Gladys graduated from Mayville High School as valedictorian in 1949. She continued her education at Valparaiso University in Indiana with a full scholarship from the Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association. She interned at Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis, MN and became certified as a Medical Technologist.

   Gladys married John Aasen of rural Sunburg, MN on December 4, 1954. She and John lived in several communities in MN, including St. Paul, Marshall, and St. Peter. Gladys had dreamt of going to Africa since grade school and was able to fulfill that dream in 1964 when she and John were called to missionary work for the Lutheran World Federation. With their five children, she and John moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where John worked at Radio Voice of the Gospel. Gladys was busy raising the children while acting as unofficial compound nurse. Later, she added working as a full-time Medical Technologist at Princess Tsehai Hospital in Addis Ababa. She enjoyed the many adventures the family had in Ethiopia and while traveling in Africa, Europe, and Israel. Gladys bore her sixth child the year before the family left Ethiopia in 1974 to settle in Grand Forks, ND.

   Gladys continued raising the children and volunteering in the church and community. After retirement, Gladys and John returned to missionary work in Manzini, Swaziland and Edinburg, Texas. They moved to Clifford, ND in 2008. After having ventured far and wide, Gladys' life journey ended 45 miles from where it began.

   Gladys is survived by John, her husband of 64 years; their children Carter, Alane Smith, Brent (Theresa), Gayle (Les Voth), Nadine (Shawn) Erickson, and Grace; 11 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; brother Clarence (Karen), sister Marie Brauer; two brothers’ spouses, Martha and Marlene; and many nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her siblings, Edna (Henry) Erickson, Martin (Joyce), Agnes (Orville) Kalvik, Oswald, Dick Brauer, Helen, and Erling; daughter-in-law Tristan (Drye) Aasen; and great-grandchild Benjamin Aasen.

   Services were held at Norman Lutheran Church, Clifford, ND, with a visitation and prayer service on Monday, February 25, and a memorial service on Tuesday, February 26.

   Interment of ashes and celebration of life will be held later in the year when Gladys’ beloved flowers are blooming and the birds are singing.


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