Anna Stenberg Family
Anna was born in Pedro, Wyoming near Newcastle, and moved to Oregon in 1946.
Childhood memories; I remember the December I was 5 years old & Mother & I went down to Denver with Mr. & Mrs. Fred Schloup in an open touring car. Blankets were hung between the front & back seats for protection against the cold. Mrs. Schloup sat in the back seat with mother & me. The only Vourhies boy went with us. Somehow gravel got into the wheel & we were stalled. Someone came by & took the women to - must have been a restaurant as I remember we had some raisin pie. Have searched for a recipe like that but have never been able to duplicate it. While we were at Aunt Annies, I got bronchial pneumonia. Since Aunt Annie never had any children, she wasn't very tolerant of a fussy kid & called me a name in Swedish that I don't think was very nice.
I don't know how long we were there, but probably before I got sick Mother took me down town to see all the Christmas decorations but the only thing I remember was nothing to do with Christmas decorations. It was a taffy machine in a window with 3 arms going around with taffy on them. I was very fascinated by it. I remember coming home & being so buried in quilts to keep warm, I could hardly get out. I was so anxious to see my sister Betty. I reveled in washing dishes for Aunt Annie because she had running water. She gave me a beautiful cup with a rectangle type handle. It said "For a good girl".
Anna wrote many letters including an annual Christmas letter. This 1998 Christmas letter is only a small sampling of the hundreds of letters she wrote.
Dear Family and friends,
I really enjoy the lights around. Icicles seem to be very popular. I don't drive many places at night. I see them on the way home from prayer meeting & I came home from town the other night & saw a lot of lights. Some people are discouraged in putting out lights because vandals have stolen many.
This Wednesday a bus load is going up to Portland to tour the Pittock mansion, go to the spaghetti factory for dinner and then tour the lights. We did it last year too except we only saw the lights outside the mansion.
For Thanksgiving I took the train up to Sedro Worlley, WA and spent the weekend with Ted and his family. Actually I took the train to Seattle and stayed over night with Brian. Then we went up Thursday morning. They had a storm that knocked down some trees right close to his house so he hadn't had any power for 3 days. Just got it hooked up 9 PM Wednesday. He lives right under a big power line that's humming all the time.
While I was up there the city came out and cut down a big spruce tree in her front yard (with permission) to set up in the center of town for the town Christmas tree. That was interesting to watch.
Jennifer has had health problems since last Christmas. I've helped her as much as I could. They've finally figured out what all her problems are and she's working on correcting them. She's never broken her nose, but it apparently got bent one time when she dove into the pool and hit bottom. She had surgery to correct the problem.
They needed some help in the library at the church school. The librarian is only there on Tuesdays, so I come in then. Last year they switched over to computer, but it is not working now and even if it was, most of us don't know how to use it, so we're switching back to cards. There are very few volunteers, so it needs to be something anybody can do. I enjoy going.
Signs all around us point to the near return of Jesus. There is so much violence. On the other hand there are some wonderful stories of individuals accepting Jesus. Here in Salem we've had 2 evangelistic crusades this year and many have accepted Jesus. The last one went all around the world on satellite and thousands accepted Jesus and want to be ready for His soon return. We must be ready.
Anna's daughter Jennifer lives in Oregon, and enjoys keeping up with relatives via Facebook. Everyone says her daughter Heather looks like her. Jennifer writes;
"I am interested in all the stories and information about our family that made them what they are (or were) and have thought at times of writing a book. Especially about Grandma Tekla. She lived such an interesting life and definitely one of service to others. I have always admired her, even though I was not privileged to know her for very long, as she died when I was 16 and she had gotten sick when I was 9 years old."
Jennifer wrote a short biography of her mother to share at Anna's memorial service:
Anna Florence (Stenberg) Powell - May 23, 1923 to October 29, 2011Anna Florence Stenberg was born on May 23, 1923 at the home of her parents, Fred and Tekla (Nilsson) Stenberg near Newcastle, Wyoming. The little area where the Stenberg 'homeplace' (as the family called their farm & home) was located was a little (railroad) whistle stop called Pedro, Wyoming, which didn't really have a zip code, so the official town of Anna's birth is listed as Newcastle and was only about 6 miles away.
In 1921, after the death of Tekla's brother David (Anna's maternal uncle), Tekla & Fred raised 3 of his 4 daughters as their own; Edith, Greta & Signe. The youngest daughter, Helen was left with friends in Canada and was not able to be reunited with the family till 1941. Anna and her sister Elizabeth were raised along with their cousins as sisters and loved each other AS sisters. So, Anna always said that she was the youngest of her 5 siblings. :)
During Anna's early school years, her parents had several teachers live with them and the girls were homeschooled. Later on Anna went to boarding school at Plainview Adventist Academy in South Dakota and graduated in 1942 from there.
After graduation, Anna got a job in Seattle, WA working for a wealthy widow, Mrs. Blethens, whose late husband was the owner of the Seattle Times newspaper. The estate where Anna worked was on Lake Washington and was very beautiful. Anna enjoyed her job as a maid. She was employed there till summer of 1943 when she went back to Wyoming and was married in the fall.
Anna married Jesse Edward Cole September 5, 1943 at the home of her parents in Pedro, Wyoming. The couple spent their honeymoon in Rapid City, SD, at Mt Rushmore and enjoying other beautiful sites in the area. They made their home in Newcastle. Anna loved being a homemaker and Jesse worked as a colporteur selling religious books for a while till his health would no longer allow him to do so. Anna and Jesse had 3 children. Gwen, their first child was born in Oct 1944 in Wyoming, then Forest in 1945 in Rapid City, SD and then the family moved to Grants Pass, Oregon in 1946 where they settled next door to Anna's sister Elizabeth and family. Ted, the youngest of the Cole children was born in May 1947.
Jesse was ill when he married Anna, and they thought they would have more time together, but after only 4 yrs of marriage, Jesse died in Oct 1947. Anna had three little children to raise by herself and she continued to live near her sister & family, working for them in their flower business. Anna's mother Tekla also lived nearby and helped out with watching the children.
Later on in years, Anna married Floyd Powell and to this union was born 2 children. Jennifer was born in Yreka, California where Anna & Floyd had traveled for a short visit. They lived several years in Ashland, Oregon and then moved in August 1963 to Sunnyside, Washington where Brian was born in 1965. Floyd left the family early on and so Anna again, raised two more children alone. She never complained about that though; she loved all her children very much and always felt that she wasn't truly alone because she knew that God was always right there with her, giving her strength to do what she needed to do. She had a very strong faith in God!
Both of Anna's parents were from Sweden and English was the second language in the home. Anna always wished that she had continued to speak Swedish in order to stay fluent in it. She taught her children some Swedish, but would have liked to have passed on more of this heritage. Anna was very proud of her Swedish heritage and always hoped to travel to Sweden someday as her Mother and older sisters did several times.
Anna earned a living by cleaning homes, sewing for people, doing ironing, at one time selling Avon and even won several awards for top sales. Her last job was working in a warehouse in Sunnyside that processed different produce such as asparagus & apples, to name a few. Anna also cleaned the Sunnyside SDA church for many years which helped pay for Jennifer and Brian's Christian education during their elementary school years. She didn't always know where the money would come from for her needs and those of her family, but she trusted God to provide and He always did.
Anna was a very good seamstress, and sewed most of her family's clothing over the years, along with her own. In later years, she sewed wedding dresses, men's suits, doll clothes and other items for a little added income. Later on she and her daughter Jennifer sewed various crafts together and sold them. Anna also enjoyed crocheting and especially liked to make things using the granny square pattern.
Anna loved to cook, do the dishes & gardening. She managed to grow a vegetable garden wherever she lived. She loved flowers -- all kinds of flowers, but especially found pleasure in growing Morning Glories, snap dragons, and pansies. She had plants inside and outside of her home. Anna was a good cook and hostess and enjoyed inviting people home for dinner on Sabbath afternoons particularly those who didn't have spouses or family in the area. She liked all animals, but especially enjoyed feeding the stray cats and dogs that found their way to her home in the country. She had several different kinds of bird feeders and especially loved watching the hummingbirds that visited the feeders.
Anna had many interests. She collected things such as interesting and inspirational quotes, clippings from newspapers of the Dear Abby column, stories and pictures of babies -- especially quintuplets. She had several scrapbooks she filled with these clippings. She loved covered bridges and light houses and was able to travel throughout Oregon to see many of them. Anna loved pictures -- both taking them and looking at them which was evident in the many photo albums she put together. Anna's father always kept track of the weather, writing it down on the calendar each day, a habit that Anna picked up and carried on through the years. Even if she didn't write much in her diary on a certain day, there was at least the temperature and the type of weather recorded.
Family and friends were very important to Anna all throughout her life! She was blessed with 5 wonderful children, 9 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She loved her sisters and their families; always feeling rich for having so much love in her life!
Anna retired in 1994 and moved to Salem, OR to be near her daughter Jennifer. Anna needed several eye surgeries and as her health declined slowly she needed to be where Jennifer could care for her. She lived in an apartment in West Salem and enjoyed all the squirrels that visited her small back yard. She had fun trying to make sure that she kept her squirrel feeders and bird feeders full and took many pictures of all the furry and feathered visitors. Anna even had a squirrel that had several babies in her back yard and she was privileged to see the mother caring for her little ones and watching them grow.
1n November 2000 Anna's health declined and due to several back fractures and worsening Osteoporosis, she had to move into a care facility in Dallas, Oregon. Anna had many difficulties with her back over the years, but she didn't complain about it and she had a positive attitude up until the last. She suffered a stroke on Oct 13 of 2011 and she was not doing well physically, but when she was asked how she was feeling only a few days before her death, she managed to say: 'Pretty good!' with a smile on her face! Anna also said that she just wanted to serve the Lord and that she wanted to live as long as Jesus wanted her to live. She was at peace and was content to let God be in control in her life.
Two days after her stroke, Anna's family were there to see her. She was awake the whole day and really enjoyed having her loved ones there. During the last two weeks of her life, Jennifer and Brian were privileged to spend every day with her reading from the Bible, singing hymns, praying with her and sharing memories. She was able to talk a little bit and even asked for prayer for family members at times. Anna died peacefully on Saturday, October 29, at 5:27 pm with Jennifer and Alicia (Jennifer's best friend & sister) by her side. Jennifer was reading the Psalms to her at that moment.
Anna is resting in Jesus till He comes to take her home to live with Him forever. What a great day that will be when Jesus comes again and takes His children home where there is no more sorrow, no pain, no suffering. Only joy and peace! ALWAYS!
Charles Young's thoughts about Anna:
What a blessing for Anna to have family present during her last days and hours on this earth, and to have a daughter to share the memories of her life with family and friends. Anna and my mother, Mina Arnold Young, were first cousins. My mother and her parents moved in with Anna's parents shortly before Anna was born. They moved out when Anna was still a baby, but still lived nearby and often visited. As a young adult, Mina moved away from Wyoming, but Anna and Mina kept in touch by exchanging letters their entire lives, and late in life when they were no longer able to write letters, Jennifer and I kept in touch by Email. My mother also kept in touch with her other cousins including Anna's sister; Betty Elizabeth Stenberg Parker; Anna's three "almost sisters" that she grew up with, Edith, Greta, and Signe Royal; and two other cousins that Anna and Mina shared; Clarence Stenberg; and Dorothy Stenberg Phipps.
I never had the priviledge of seeing any of Anna's scrapbooks, but we did receive home made cards from her. My mother's cousin's children are my second cousins, and I have kept in touch with some of them -- mostly Dorothy's children. In the 1950's, Dorothy's family moved from Colorado to a farm near Huntsville, Arkansas, so I have been acquainted with them and some of their children (my second cousins once removed) most of my life. Anna and my mother were the connections that linked other relatives together. Anna learned about not only my birth and life through my mother, but also learned about the lives of their other common nieces, nephews, and other relatives from each other. I am not as good at keeping up with family and friends as the previous generation, so I am sure we will have lots of catching up to do when we get to Heaven.
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