Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Clara Mellem, 1930-2023, dear friend from church

"With deep sorrow, we announce that Clara Bernetta Mellum, nee Braaten, passed away Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at her home in Columbus, Ohio, surrounded by her loving husband, Reuben, of 66 years and her children. Clara was 92 years of age. In addition to her husband, Reuben, Clara is survived by her children, Mark (Bev), Steven (Jean), and Mary (Ken), along with nine grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, sisters-in-law Joyce Braaten and Gladys Mellum and many nieces and nephews. Clara was preceded in death by her daughter-in-law, Kerri, and her grandson, Andy. She was also preceded in death by her parents, Ben and Clara Braaten, along with brothers, Newman, Iver, Boyd, and Norris, sisters Gladys, Adeline, and Bernice, sisters-in-law Ella and Ardith, and brothers-in-law Maurice and Les.

Clara was born on May 3, 1930, in Wyndmere, North Dakota. She was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith at Gol Aal Lutheran Church, near Wyndmere. She grew up on the family farm and attended grade school at Garborg Township District 4. She graduated from Wahpeton High School in 1948. Clara earned a Bachelor's degree at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she met her husband, Reuben. Her teaching career started at a country school in North Dakota and continued with an elementary teaching position in the Twin Cities area. Clara and Reuben were united in marriage in Wyndmere on August 12, 1956.

After their marriage, Clara joined Reuben at the church parsonage in the Norway Lake area near New London, Minnesota. Their first son, Mark, was born in 1957, and in 1960, the young family moved to Breckenridge, Minnesota to serve Breckenridge Lutheran Church. Here, Clara's and Reuben's other two children, Steven and Mary, were born. After moving from Breckenridge in 1974, Clara and Reuben served two other churches, one in Pemberville, Ohio, and one in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Wherever she lived, Clara served as a teacher in the public school system. In Pemberville, Clara taught migrant farmworkers' children and eventually directed that program. In St. Clair Shores, Clara was a substitute teacher for ten years until she and Reuben retired.

Upon their retirement, Clara and Reuben relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where they joined Upper Arlington Lutheran Church. Clara volunteered at the church's Clothes Closet as well as other volunteer opportunities, while Reuben served as a visitation pastor. At the time of her death, Clara and Reuben were living at the Forum at Knightsbridge in Columbus.

Throughout her life, Clara found joy in spending time with her family, which she treasured above anything else. She was eager to help her family in any endeavor. She enjoyed baking, cooking and volunteering at her church. Clara especially loved to carry on cherished family recipes for such things as Norwegian lefse, krumkake, and spritz cookies. She brought her rolls and cinnamon buns to countless family gatherings and enjoyed sharing her knowledge of baking and sewing with others.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 14, 2023, at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church on Lytham Road in Upper Arlington at 11:00 AM. Visitation will be at the church from 10:00 am - 11:00 am, with a lunch following the service. Interment will be at the columbarium at the church.''

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Clara and Reuben joined our church after his retirement and their son Steven lived here. He was our visitation pastor for several years, and we had occasion to call him when our daughter's father in law had an emergency and was in the hospital here in Columbus.  We were guests with them in February 2020 when the Hahms hosted a Valentine dinner (perhaps the last social event before the Covid lockdown that we attended) and each married couple brought their wedding photo.  Clara had the most beautiful wedding dress I've ever seen. We saw them several times at the Hahms who love to host creative and delicious dinners for 6-8 people. Every Sunday we saw Clara and Reuben go up the aisle for communion--they usually sat a few rows behind us.  The last time we saw her was Sunday, March 26, and she died while we were in Arizona March 28-April 4. We had planned a visit at their home in the Forum earlier in March, but we both had colds, so had postponed the visit.  We will miss her gentle ways and friendly smile.

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