Friday, January 16, 2009

Death in the family

Elwin Dillerud died Friday in the same house he was born in seventy-three years ago. Besides farming, Elwin drove school bus in 56572 for fifty-one years. One way or the other Elwin safely transported every child who has gone to school here over the past half a century. Elwin passed away this morning at home at the age of seventy-three. His bus kids were "his" kids. The basketball team were "his" kids. Ever reliable and ever caring, Mr. Dillerud will be sorely missed. Sorry we won't have the chance to say thanks for the job well done, not even good-bye.

I'm dealing with my grief by listening to this song called ArriVals by the Norwegian Fiddler Gjermund Larsen which I will dedicate to you. I think you might have liked it too.

As I listen I'll look out the window and see your big yellow bus knifing through the snowdrifts of Norwegian Grove township through the blowing snow - was Billy Wells still in bed? - through the darkness your strobe light brightly flashing your eyes glued on the road ahead your ears to the bus radio listening for word of Edwina, the local bus driver legend from the opposite end of the district, who these last snowy and frigid weeks your bus radio voice started to resemble.

Then, click on the ambers, soft pedal to the stop, crack open the door, the ambers turn red and the curtain rises to fifty-one years of "Good morning."

Larson Funeral Home page


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear about Elwin this morning. Please send my sympathy to everyone in your bus family.

Sue Monson

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, Elwin -- a thousand times thanks again from all the "Marty kids" you drove from Norwegian Grove over the years. We counted on your cheerful "good morning" and "good night" and many friendly, joking conversations in between. You were always a friend to all of us. Thanks for the careful and caring transport and friendship -- we will miss seeing you around the neighborhood. Kathy Josephson and all the Martys

Anonymous said...

My Tribute to Elwin

by Aneta

Elwin wasn’t a complicated man ~ he could be stubborn and opinionated at times ~ if he felt he was in the right he didn’t appreciate being confused by logic and facts. He had certain things he believed to be true and it wasn’t easy to change his mind. You usually knew where you stood with Elwin because he wasn’t necessarily shy about telling you if he thought you were wrong. But he had a heart as big as a basketball and it was pure gold.

He was a humble man ~ he wasn’t one to “toot his own horn” (except when he was playing his trombone in the community band) and he would get upset with me if I tried to brag on something he had done. But there were some things in which he took a lot of pride.

He was proud of his Norwegian heritage ~ he didn’t eat lutefisk or drink coffee and that raised a question in some peoples minds but he spoke the language and got a kick out of saying something to Pastor Curt in Norwegian to see the look on his face ~ Curt called it speaking in tongues.

He was proud of the Pelican Rapids community. At first he wasn’t pleased about the changes that were happening but he came to be proud of the diversity of the community. He would tell outsiders that our kids were getting an education you can’t learn from books ~ and that they would be far better people because of the fact that they were growing up in a little Minnesota town that had a variety of languages, races and cultures.

He was proud of being a school bus driver. He thought it was one of the most important jobs he could do. For a few hours every day he hauled “precious cargo”. And twice a day he breathed a sigh of relief when he delivered that “precious cargo” first to the school and then back to their homes in the afternoon. Every child that ever rode his bus was one of “his kids”. And in a way that probably also includes most of the kids that are now in school or have gone through the Pelican Rapids schools in the past half century because he drove for field trips and class trips and all sorts of athletic and school events over the years.

He was especially proud of being the driver for the Pelican Rapids boy’s basketball team. He was proud of their accomplishments on the basketball court and he was proud of them. He often bragged that they were not just good athletes they were good kids. He would say “they are all gentlemen ~ they are smart and kind and they never brag about themselves or act like they think they are superstars”. Then he would pause and finally add “and that’s what makes them superstars in my book”. Thank you to the team for making him feel like one of the team ~ he loved you guys. At one of the away games a man asked him if he had a son or grandson on the team and he said “they are all my kids.”.

He was so proud of our daughter, Nancy, our grandson, Quinn and son-in-law, Scott. When Nancy first found us nearly 12 years ago he didn’t really want anyone to know ~ “what would people think”. But when he finally talked to her he did a complete turn around. For those who don’t know the story ~ ask me ~ it’s one of those stories that you think only happens to “other people” until it happens to you.

And even though they were step-children and step-grandchildren he was also proud of my two sons and their children. He was waiting a little impatiently for them to get big enough so they could spend time with us and he could teach them to ride the four-wheeler.

And I was so proud of him. He was special in so many ways that other people never saw. He helped with the housework ~ almost always helped do the dishes each night ~ on the Friday’s that there was a home basketball game he did the laundry so I could go to the game and not have to take up part of my Saturday to do it. He made awesome birdhouses and beautiful cutting boards and he kept our lawn looking like a park. I won’t say that we always agreed and that there weren’t times I would get so angry with him or him with me ~ but as he would say “that’s marriage”. After all we did have a mixed marriage ~ he was Norwegian and I’m a German.

Anonymous said...

Name: Quinn Koeneman
City: Monticello
State/Province: Illinois
Zip/Postal Code: 61856

Relation: Grandson

From: Quinn Koeneman

Tribute: the day after my grandfather died, I saw something that has consoled me since. strangely. it was on the Discovery channel. they were building the "ice hotel"... exactly that, a hotel built only of ice. they had artists design the interior of the suites. one artist talked about how this was the perfect medium for her. she said that she has always imagined heaven as cold. Hell possessed colors like red, orange, black, and it was very hot. but winter and snow embodied not only the opposite of that, but it possessed the colors of heaven, with light blues and white (the occasional light yellow patch). When I heard that, I realized something; grandpa had lived in Minnesota his whole life (in the house he died in his whole life) and Minnesota is, well, pretty cold! So even though I have no idea what's going on up in heaven with my grandpa, I know he isn't having any trouble getting used to it.

Anonymous said...

For nearly 17 years I had the honor of knowing and spending time with Elwin. Very few people have earned my respect and appreciation as Elwin had, most notably, the lessons and values that he instilled in my son Austin.

Several years ago Austin had to write a paper on the person he admired the most. It turned out that it wasn't me. When I saw the title and read the content, Austin became the person I admired the most. For before me, was a 5th grader with the insight and knowledge to see the value of the man. I was a father proud to play second fiddle to Elwin. Summers at the farm will never be the same, but I will continue to see Elwin in everything that I look at.

Richard Sonterre
Nephew at heart

Terri Pray said...

I grew to respect Elwin in the few short years I've known him.

We didn't always see eye to eye on things, but then again I walked into his life as the new wife of his step-son. A marriage Aneta didn't know had happened until Sam introduced me - imagine meeting your mother in law only to find out she didn't know she'd become that...

Elwin was a stubborn man, but a strong man, a good man at heart, and the love he had for Aneta extended to his grandchildren.

We were fortunate enough to see him in November, and for that I'm grateful. Due to time and distance it had been a year since he'd been able to see the kids and that visit is something I will be able to remind the children about as they grow older.

Thank you, Elwin, for allowing us to become a part of your family. For showing Jack and Sarah the love you had for them. Their time with you was all too short but it's time I'll make sure they never forget.

Terri Pray