Eldora was born on August 8, 1920, in Albert City, Iowa, to Emil and Nora (Gustafson) Wenell. She died December 2, 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was 99. She spent her early childhood in Albert City and in Turlock, California. She graduated from high school in Turlock, and attended Modesto (California) Junior College for one year, before entering a nursing program at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. She received her RN degree in 1944, the same year that she married Everett Swedenburg, who had received his degree from North Park Theological Seminary.
For the next 37 years, Eldora worked as a homemaker raising three children, worked as a minister’s wife as Everett served eleven churches across the country, and worked part time as a RN in various hospitals and doctors’ offices. She also made beautiful quilts, baby towels, bibs, and a host of small hand-sewn items. During this period of her life there were 26 moves to different houses!
After Everett’s retirement from the ministry in 1981, the couple lived in Mesa, Arizona, and eventually relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and to the La Vida Llena Retirement Community. In 2007 Eldora and Everett celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. Also during these years Eldora expanded her favorite sewing and quilt-making activities, continued to do part time nursing work, and continued her commitment to her local churches and especially the churches’ women’s programs. At La Vida Llena she became active in various committees, and developed many deep and abiding friendships. She also enjoyed the arrival of four grandchildren and took delight in watching them grow. That same delight was experienced years later with the arrival of four great-grandchildren.
Eldora is survived by her son Paul and wife Nancy Gordon of Germantown, New York; her daughter Eunice and husband Gerhard Letzing of Portland, Oregon; and her son Jon and ex-wife Julie Fuller of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Kristen (Letzing) Roosevelt and husband Scott Roosevelt; Sandy Letzing and husband Blaine Vandehey, Wesley Swedenburg, and Matthew Swedenburg, and four great-grandchildren Jonathan and Elise Roosevelt and Theodore and August Vandehey. Her brothers Vincent and Lawrence Wenell, and her sister Loretta Newman, all predeceased Eldora.
A memorial service was held at the Chapel at La Vida Llena on Monday, December 9. A graveside memorial service will be held at the Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Salina, Kansas, at a future date.
Donations may be made in her memory to the Nursing School at North Park University, Office of Advancements Box 6, 3225 West Foster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625-4895.