Celebrating the Life of Berniece Ersland | February 27, 1922—February 20, 2017
March 6, 2017, 2:00pm | Highlands Community Church, Renton, WA
What a remarkable woman! Our precious mom was born on February 27, 1922, to Lars and Ingeborg Kleve, joining older sister Marie to complete the family in a close-knit Norwegian community in Madison, Wisconsin. Growing up bilingual and valuing her heritage, her parents also instilled in her a love for music, for family and fun, and for the Lord. Her father died when she was a young teen. She then took business classes in high school, graduating a year early, and began working for the Hankscraft Corp. She was asked to be the secretary for the president, but preferred booking, which came in handy later. Through much of this she still found time to sing and perform in musical productions first at school and always at church.
When WW II began she and Art Ersland were already long-time friends, and by the time he came home for his first leave, three and a half years later, they were engaged. Not knowing how long the war would last, they were married at a Marine base in North Carolina on June 30, 1945.
When Art was discharged from the Marines they moved back to Madison where Melinda was born. There was no housing available because of lack of building during the war, and when it was known that there were houses and jobs out West, the young family moved to Renton.
They visited several churches, and found a fledgling congregation which came to be known as Highlands Community Church, and the Erslands knew they had found a home. Jane was born, and the family’s ties to the church family became even stronger, with Art and Berniece enjoying all Highlands had to offer, music, fellowship, teaching, and Berniece had the opportunity to use her booking skills for the Lord.
After a brief sojourn to California where Mark was born, the Erslands made the move to Renton permanent, purchasing the home where the children grew up, and church involvement grew also. The purchase of the property at the corner of “10th and K Streets” and the resulting buildings were encouraging and faith stretching.
Berniece enjoyed her dream job at the Renton Library for 22 years, and she and Art traveled, and enjoyed their children and grandchildren.
Art died suddenly in 1985, and son Mark, in 1994. Berniece joined them, and her Heavenly Father, on February 20, 2017. Berniece is survived by her daughters Melinda Wilson (Jim) and Jane Wilkinson (Wes) Their children: Lori (Ernie) Antin; Lissa (Scott) Warder; Sara (Doug) Wilkinson; and Scott, (Heather) Wilson. Mark’s daughter Angela (Rob Arrants) Their Grandchildren: Cooper, Mason, Anna, Lilli-an, and Mia Antin. Caden, Amanda and Maxwell Wilson. Steven and Daniel Wilkinson. Mark’s granddaughter Ezri Arrants. Numerous nieces and nephews. We miss her, but our grief is tempered with the guaranteed hope of eternal life.
Abide With Me
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless, oh abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine Lord abide with me.
Hold thou Thy cross before my closing eyes
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee
In life, in death oh Lord abide with me.
This song has been a part of Ersland memorial services for many years because Art Ersland left a recording of it on his player at home in Madison when he left to join the Marines to fight in WWII, greatly encouraging his mother that his faith would remain.