Sylvia Ofstedal - Brookings

April 5, 1925 - June 18, 2019

Sylvia A. Ofstedal, 94, of Brookings, passed away June 18, 2019 at the United Living Community, Brookings. 

Funeral Services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 22, 2019 at Ascension Lutheran Church, Brookings.  Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, June 21, 2019, at Rude’s Funeral Home, Brookings.  There will also be a visitation from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, at Hoven Funeral Chapel in Ellendale, ND.  

Burial will be 10 a.m. Monday at Aurdal Cemetery, rural Forbes, ND.  In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials be directed to Ascension Lutheran Church, Aurdal Lutheran Cemetery Association or a charity of your choice in Sylvia’s name.  Rude’s Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.  

 Sylvia (Solveg) Alvilda Melland was born to Bertha Kaalaas Melland and John Melland on their farm near Bradley.  She was the 8th of 10 children, nine girls and one boy. 

She attended country school through 8th grade, first near Red Elm,  and later near Frederick.  She completed her freshman year of high school at Frederick High School and her final three years at Central High School in Aberdeen, all the while working for her room and board.  

Fresh out of high school, she taught at country schools for three years before completing her teaching certificate at Northern State University in Aberdeen.  

Although she enjoyed teaching and excelled at it, the job was sometimes challenging because she wasn’t much older than many of her students.  She often recounted stories, with a twinkle in her eye, of some of the students who liked to test her authority.

In 1949, Sylvia began dating Raymond Ofstedal and they were married at Aurdal Lutheran Church on June 13, 1951.  In the early days of their courtship, Ray won her over by paying $28 on an apple pie she had baked, outbidding another potential suitor.  It was a wise investment!  She continued to bake apple pies until a few months before her death.  Sylvia and Ray celebrated their 68th anniversary the week before she died. 

Sylvia and Ray started their life together on a farm near Frederick. The first of their children, Peter, was born in 1954 and the second, Marc, followed a year later in 1955.  In 1957 they decided to give up farming and moved to Willmar, MN, living next door to Sylvia’s older sister, Esther Harvey, and her family.  

Their third and last child, Mary Beth, was born in Willmar in 1961.   In 1964 they made their final move to Brookings, SD, where Ray took a job with the Brookings Hospital for several years, before hiring on with 3-M when they opened a plant there in 1971.  Sylvia began working at Larson Manufacturing in 1971.  She and Ray retired on the same day in January 1987. 

Sylvia enjoyed sewing, needlework, gardening, cooking and baking, especially Norwegian dishes, and she was a gracious host.  She was active in the Sons of Norway, ladies circle, Bible study group, and at Ascension Lutheran Church, where she and Ray have been long-time members.  

She also prepared lunches for Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity volunteers, where Ray was active for many years. 

Sylvia and Ray enjoyed a long retirement together, keeping busy with volunteer work, home projects and travel, spending many of the winters in warmer places.  

They started out traveling to different parts of the south pulling their camper, and eventually bought a park model and settled in Gold Canyon, AZ, for the last 12 of their winters as snowbirds.  Sylvia was proud of her Norwegian heritage and made several trips to Norway with Ray to visit relatives. 

Sylvia is survived by her husband, Ray; children, Peter (Pat) Ofstedal of Breese, IL, Marc (Lisa) Ofstedal of Ballwin, MO and Mary Beth Ofstedal (Mick Couper) of Ann Arbor, MI;  her grandchildren, Kristin Fonseca, Alexandra Bauer, Blake Ofstedal and Emily (Brett) Mertens; by one great grandchild, Oliver Fonseca; her brother, Dean (Anna) Melland; sister-in-law, Ruth Swedlund and numerous nieces and nephews. 

 She was preceded in death by her parents, Bertha and John; her sisters, Marie Stangeland, Minnie Tysver, Borghild Sumption, Olga Ham, Jennie Flakoll, Alma Keil, Esther Harvey and Clara Liedle.

 Condolences may be sent to the family through


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