Ellen Marie (Syrdal) Erdahl, age 88, died peacefully on June 6, 2023, surrounded by faith, family, music, and love in her final days. Born in China to missionary parents, faith and service remained passions throughout her life.
She attended St. Olaf College, sang in the St. Olaf Choir and majored in music education and performance. After graduating in 1957, Ellen taught music and science in Blue Earth, MN. While there, she met and married Arlen Erdahl and they started their family, farming near Frost, MN. They also lived in: St. Paul, MN; Winchester, MA; Wheaton, MD; West St. Paul, MN; Falls Church, VA; Kingston, Jamaica; Annandale, VA; and Burnsville, MN. Throughout their many moves, Ellen directed church choirs, presented hymn sings, and composed an arrangement of "The Morning Star." A gifted singer and talented pianist, she taught piano and voice lessons from home, but mostly, she played piano for sheer enjoyment.
Ellen was a proud member of the Roe family and treasured her large extended family, keeping close connections with Roe, Syrdal and Erdahl relatives across the country, as well as dear family in Norway.
Ellen put her heart and soul into everything she did, whether it was helping her family or complete strangers, who became life-long friends. Volunteerism was a way of life for Ellen; visiting babies at the orphanage, driving the elderly to medical appointments, teaching citizenship classes, helping new refugees, and giving her time and talent to numerous activities at her local Lutheran Church.
An excellent writer and editor, Ellen prepared many of Arlen’s campaign materials during his years in politics, from positions in the Minnesota state legislature to the U.S. Congress. More recently, she completed a manuscript of spiritual inspiration and comfort titled, “Letters to Sherm”.
Preceded in death by parents Borghild “Bokka” (Roe) and Rev. Rolf Syrdal and survived by: husband of nearly 65 years, Arlen Erdahl; children Rolf (Carrie Vecchione), Eric, John, Lars (Molly), Laura (Scott) Weinberg, Kari (Eric) Hagen; grandchildren Ada, Ella, Inga, Anders, Haakon, Tor, Bonnie (Jake), Solveig, Gemma, Jack, David, Elin, Leif and Annika; brother Fred (Jan) Syrdal; sister-in-law Carol Erdahl; nieces and nephews Becky, Paul (Elizabeth), Beth, Paul (Donna) and Kristen; and countless treasured relatives and friends.
Ellen often ended conversations with " God bless… and guide.” Among her last words were “God is good” and “Love the Lord.” Funeral service Friday, June 16th at 1 PM ~ Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. Visitation Thursday, June 15th, 5-8 PM, with a hymn sing 7-7:30 pm at Gill Brothers Funeral Chapel, 5801 Lyndale Avenue South and also one hour prior to service at church. Interment ~ Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield, MN.
Memorials encouraged to Luther Seminary, Lutheran World Relief or a charity of choice to serve others.
Gill Brothers 612-861-6088