Muriel Hildred (Ekness) Huey Muriel Hildred (Ekness) Huey

Huey, Muriel Hildred (Ekness) 101, passed away July 10, 2017. She was born on Dec. 17, 1915, the third child and third daughter of Christian and Marie Ekness in Grand Forks. She grew up on the family farm with her three brothers and five sisters about 10 miles southwest of Grand Forks. Muriel was confirmed in Evanger Lutheran Church the land for the church given by her Norwegian immigrant family and, after attending a one-room school house, graduated from Grand Forks Central in 1934. On cold days in the winter, her father took them to the little school in a one-horse open sleigh. Her mother's dream to see that all nine of her children graduate from high school came true; something out of the ordinary in a time when most farm kids only went through the eighth grade. She told stories of pulling weeds in the beet fields when it was so hot she and her sisters had to quit early in the afternoon after getting up at 3:30 in the morning. They picked potatoes for 3 cents a bushel, milked the cows and sold chickens from door to door. Her older sister drove four horses to cut grain with a binder. "My sisters and I paid the price for my parents not having a boy first," she once said. Coming of age during the Great Depression made a lifelong impression on Muriel. Her credo was "waste not want not," and she used to tell of coming home from school once during those Dust Bowl Days to find a plate of butter covered with dirt. In November 1932, the family's beautiful six-bedroom, two-story house with indoor plumbing and a power plant in the basement burned to the ground. Muriel was the only one not at home that bitterly cold night, but she never forgot the hardship the family endured as they rebuilt their lives with the incredible help of family and friends. She attended business school and went to work for FDR's Agricultural Adjustment Administration. She always believed in the power of prayer and prayed often to meet the love of her life. In 1938, that prayer was answered when Robert Huey arrived to work for the Grand Forks County Welfare Board. They fell in love, and though not a Norwegian, Robert became a beloved member of the Ekness family. In the spring of 1942, with World War II raging in Europe and the Pacific, Robert enlisted in the Army. He was separated from Muriel for the next 3 1/2 years; the two writing love letters, sometimes daily, until he returned in October 1945. They were married on Dec. 2, 1945. Robert's father, a pioneer Presbyterian minister, officiated in the prairie Lutheran church. They started their married life in a trailer on the University of North Dakota campus so that Robert could attend classes on the GI bill. They later lived in Fargo, Moorhead, Bismarck, and the Chicago suburb of Glenview, raising their four children. She loved being a homemaker so she could be home when her children came home from school. In the mid-1960s, she and Robert opened their home and hearts to two foster children, Bobby and Garland, ages 3 and 4. They became part of the family for two years. As Robert changed jobs, she made new friends through PEO, church and volunteering. When he retired from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1981, they moved to Sioux Falls, where they spent 15 marvelous years close to their grandchildren and traveling to France, where Robert served during the war and England, where Muriel's youngest sister and her family lived. In 1996, with Robert's health failing, they moved to Walker Place in Minneapolis to be close to their two daughters, Pam and Paula. Robert died in 2000. Muriel spent the next 17 years at Walker Place enjoying friendships and being close to grandchildren and great grandchildren and seeing just a few of Ben, Anthony and Joey's hockey games. Muriel is survived by her four children: David (Marcia) of Gig Harbor, Wash.; Pamela (Paul Walsh) of Edina; Paula Fox of St. Louis Park; and Timothy (Sandra Doran) of Davenport, Iowa; four grandchildren, Sara (Chad Lau) of Blaine; Jonathan of Portland, Ore.; Benjamin Walsh of Minneapolis, and Anthony Walsh of Edina; and two great grandchildren, Joseph and Ana Marie Lau. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, Peter Lamin in England, her sister-in-law, Avis Ekness, on the family farm in Grand Forks, and 12 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, eight siblings and her beloved grandson, James Andrew Huey. The family gives special thanks to the wonderful Walker Place staff, where she thrived for so many years, and for their loving care in her final years. The family suggests memorials to Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis or the Salvation Army. A date for a memorial service will be set later. Muriel will be laid to rest next to her dear Robert and others in her family in the Evanger cemetery.