Posted 2/02/11 (Wed)
Solveig Margrethe Schweiss joined her Lord on Jan. 6, 2011. She had just celebrated her 94th birthday. We are deeply grateful that He shared her with us for so long.
Solveig means “sunny way” in Norwegian, and oh how brilliant was the arc she blazed throughout our lives. For all her reassuring constancy, Solveig could often surprise – absolutely resolute in her Christian faith, she was an ardent, lifelong explorer of His promises … though never one to call attention to herself, all manner of people were inexorably drawn to her … unapologetically passionate in her opinions and convictions, she was both gentle and unstintingly generous of spirit – and more. So much more.
Solveig was born in 1916 on a North Dakota wheat farm homesteaded by her immigrant parents, Haakon and Inger Ambjor. Her many stories of those early years in Watford City – of shared family values, improbable events, side-splitting shenanigans and occasional hardships – are held fast in our memories.
She dearly loved her siblings, Knute, Sverre, Gulborg and Trygve, and they made for a happy, talented and intrepid band of children who would remain devoted to each other across all time.
Solveig learned English at age five so that she could begin school. She graduated at 16, attending teachers’ college in Dickinson, N.D., Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and finally, her beloved Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle. She was a supervisor at Boeing during war years.
After the war, while working at LBI, she caught the eye of a young pastor-to-be, her Jacque. They married in 1949, and were soon raising a family of three rambunctious boys, while finishing seminary and cultivating church communities in southeran California and Portland, before settling for good in Seattle in 1968.
Solveig was never one to sit still for very long, leading, well into her 90s, an astonishingly active and selfless life of service to her family, church, LBI, any number of charitable endeavors large and small, and individuals in need. Her adventurous spirit propelled her on many memorable journeys, including The Holy Land, Norway, and, at age 87, the wilds of Russia.
The massive stroke that would later render her wheelchair-bound, only burnished her already shining grace and grit. She was a blessing to everyone she encountered, always quick with a twinkle in her eye, a warm word, and wry wit.
She was our family’s rock, our inspiration, our soul. We will miss her terribly. Our family wishes to express special thanks to those who gave so freely of themselves to Solveig’s physical and spiritual well-being, from her many extraordinary friends and relatives both near and far, to her unfailingly cheerful caregivers at Ida Culver Hall. Treasures all.
Solveig is survived by devoted husband, Jacque, of 62 years; her brother, Sverre (Amby) Ambjor and wife, Miriam; her three sons and their wives, Paul and Berit, Erik and Claire, and Jon and Ann; her grandchildren and spouses, Ali and Kenny, Liv and Biola, Eivind and Andrea, Erik, and Leif; and four beautiful great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Solveig’s life was held at First Lutheran of Richmond Beach in Shoreline, Wash., on Sunday, Jan. 23, at 2:00 p.m.
Solveig would have encouraged donations to her favorite charities in lieu of flowers: her cherished “In As Much” quilting group and the Saratov Church in Russia (donations to these may be made through First Lutheran of Richmond Beach, 18354 8th Avenue Northwest, Shoreline, WA 98177).