Merry Beth Kjos passed away on July 31, 2021, 2021 at Valley Senior Living after a courageous 3 month fight with acute myeloid leukemia.
Merry was born in Grafton, ND July 14, 1950 to Norman and Evelyn (Rustan) Kjos. She was raised on a farm near Hoople, ND, and enjoyed the educational benefits of attending ‘country school’, first in the 1 room school near their farm home, then in the ‘new’ two-room Dundee School, where she graduated from 8th grade with five other classmates. Those six country kids entered high school together in Park River, ND at the then Walsh County Agricultural School. Lifelong memories were made with her new (and old) friends as Merry took part in many organizations. She capped off her senior year as a Homecoming princess and honor student. Heading to college at the University of North Dakota opened up new opportunities for friends and activities, while studying to be a nurse. Merry was well- known at Gillette Hall for her late-night pre-test study habits. Gillette 411 was a hub for old and new friendships that lasted a lifetime. She enjoyed serving as a fraternity “Pikette”.
Following UND graduation in 1972 with her R.N. degree, she joined the nursing staff at Deaconess Hospital in Grand Forks. When United Hospital opened in 1976, Merry took the opportunity to work in the Surgery Department. This became her work ‘home’ with early and late hours until 2009 when she retired from Altru Hospital.
Merry was known by family and friends as a great gift-giver, Coke drinker, shopper, and traveler. Her pets and the color pink were other loves. Although an only child, she shared close relationships with her cousins, making memories with them during every holiday gathering of the Rustan clan. Many young people called her “Auntie Merry”. Her three goddaughters, Tami Jo Martin, Brooke Filipi, and Danielle Filipi, held a special place in her heart.
Fighting Sioux hockey became a passion for Merry, cheering them on as a season ticket holder. She was proud to be 100% Norwegian and enjoyed exploring her heritage on several trips to Norway with lifelong friend Char Brekke. Travels with friends also took her to Italy, Great Britain, Alaska, Hawaii, China and other fun places where her shopping traits got a good work-out. Although never traveling there, her generous giving provided for many wheelchairs given to children served by Medical Mission Ecuador.
Merry first learned about God’s saving love during Sunday School at Park Center Lutheran Church, rural Hoople. Country school friends were also fellow students in confirmation class & Sunday School, where they learned beloved hymns and dressed up for the annual Christmas pageant. Merry’s devotion to her faith and Park Center church continued throughout her life, as she organized summer service schedules, played the piano when needed, and served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Cemetery Board.
Merry is survived by her life partner/anchor, Roger Orchard, whom she shared life experiences with for 48 years. She is also survived by cousins Nancy Stedman, Neil Ostenrude, Tim Ostenrude, Mark Fagerholt, Bud Langerud, Jim Langerud, and Dan Filipi as well as several cherished grand nieces, nephews, and lifelong friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, many dear aunts and uncles, and cousins Cheryl Licandro and Jay Fagerholt.
Services for Merry Kjos will be Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 2:00 PM at the Amundson Funeral Home, Grand Forks with Pastor Bruce Vold officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to service time. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery, Grand Forks. Memorials are preferred to Altru Cancer Center.
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