Ex-employee, entertainer now resident at care center
Esther Lundgaard has had a full life elsewhere, but not much fuller than where she presently lives—the Ellsworth Care Center.
When the now-90-year-old moved into the local nursing home nearly five years ago, she’d already spent over two decades working and entertaining there, she said Wednesday. Her work was in the care center’s housekeeping department; the entertainment came in the form of talent she developed on the keyboard.
The area native’s housekeeping and music skills were honed outside the center, she said. She’d been a housekeeper at her then-future husband Melvin’s family home and later played the piano at their own home after they wed.
“I remember Mel would come dancing in when I was playing,” she said, noting she especially enjoyed country western tunes as well as religious songs.Lundgaard said she grew up as the oldest girl in her family, the daughter of Frediof and Lillian. As a youth, she and her siblings joined her parents in working on her grandparents’ farm, the John Gilbertson dairy.“I helped with the cooking, milking—everything,” she said, noting she grew up at a place near Beldenville. Her two brothers are Lawrence (now retired and living by Frederic) and Howard Nelson, while her four sisters are Margaret (Don Driscoll) now of Prescott, Florence (Howard Miller) of River Falls, Joyce (Kenneth Johnson) of Ellsworth and Grace of Hilary, Ohio.When not assisting with attention to the garden—filled with her favorites like tomatoes, peas and beans—she enjoyed sliding in the winter, Lundgaard said. Her education began at the former one-room Cloverdale School and then, after the family moved to Martell, she attended the one-room school there. In her final year—the eighth grade—she was back at Cloverdale.“We had about six practice teachers,” she said, explaining they relieved the regular teacher.For more please read the Jan. 22 print version of the Herald.