September 15, 2010

Susan Skedsvold

Susan Skedsvold, 87, a longtime Alexander, N.D., area resident, died at the Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home Sunday afternoon, Sept. 5, 2010, where she has been a resident since Aug. 1, 2008. Funeral services were held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10, 2010, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Alexander. Rev. Timothy Swenson officiated, and Father John Pfeifer offered prayers. Interment followed the service at the Alexander Cemetery. A reception followed the burial at the Alexander City Hall. Friends may share memories and condolences with the family online at
Susan was born Jan. 27, 1923, to Samuel and Susan (Hughes) Payne, in Aramac, Queensland, Australia.  She was raised in Australia and educated in local schools. She attended Rockhampton Technical College.
During World War II, Susan joined AWAS (Australian Women’s Army Service). While in the service, she met Gunder Skedsvold, who had been injured while fighting in New Guinea. The couple married at a Methodist church in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on April 29, 1944. Gunder returned to the war effort after being healed and was detained then for a time before he and Susan could return to North Dakota.
After the war, Susan and their son, John, came to the United States aboard the Mariposa. It docked in San Francisco, Calif., on March 6, 1946. This was something that stayed with Susan all of her life and she would speak of it from time to time. The couple travelled to North Dakota and, upon their arrival, snow and a multitude of other things familiar to Gunder, were firsts for Susan. The couple made their home in the rural Alexander area, where they raised their two children, John and Anne.
Susan was very proud to be an American. She adapted quickly to the elements of change and carried on with the attitude “Out with the old and in with the new.” This mindset helped her to cope and adapt to the many things that were new. The couple would return to Australia one time to see family and reunite her family ties.
She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Alexander and the Watford City American Legion. Susan’s appearance was always that of elegance and style; it was simply part of her day. She would even “get ready” to take lunch to Gunder out in the fields. She was proud of her Irish heritage and reminded Gunder and others often. She enjoyed poetry and would write letters to family and friends with a great sense of vividness, color and description to her prose. She loved her grandchildren, and raised them to respect others and themselves. She did miss the ocean of her Australia, but replaced it in a sense with a lake home at McKenzie Bay; she thoroughly enjoyed being near the water. Together, Susan and Gunder enjoyed traveling during their retirement. She also enjoyed her visits by the family pet, Sam.
Susan is survived by her daughter, Anne (Raymond) Mrachek of Alexander; grandchildren, Michelle (Wally) Snyder of Houghton Lake, Mich., and Michael (Sarah) Rothenheber of West Fargo, N.D.; great-granddaughter, Madison Rothenheber; siblings, Don Payne and wife, Edna Doran and Valerie Payne, all of Australia; and sisters-in-law, Adeline Ley of Bismarck, N.D. and Shirley Payne of Australia; and brother-in-law, Arne (Joyce) Skedsvold of Sidney, Mont.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Gunder; son, John; brothers, Jack, Walter and Samuel; sister, Mary Moore; brothers-in-law, Arthur Doran, Steve Moore, Albert Ley, Obert, Carl and Alfred Skedsvold.