Saturday, September 17, 2022
10:00 AM EDT
Chapel of Covenant Living of Great Lakes
2510 Lake Michigan Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Covenant Living Benevolent Care Fund
2510 Lake Michigan Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
A woman of everlasting faith, June Seestrom lived by way of example. With a grace all her own, she was ever giving of her time and talents, and helping others was one of her greatest joys. June lived to honor, and to serve and obey her Lord, placing her faith and family always as a priority. Gone yet never to be forgotten are the numerous memories she lovingly leaves behind.
June’s story began in the year 1924, as the country was continuing to pick-up the pieces following World War I. Prohibition was law of the land, and jazz and blues music dominated the music scene. Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the U.S. and during his tenure, he closed Ellis Island that very year as an entry point to the United States after over twelve million immigrants made their way to the U.S. in hopes of better tomorrows. Yet in the close-knit community of Faribault County, Minnesota, Victor and Ruth (Larson) Johnson were beginning their lives together with a family to call their own. Born at home on May 22, 1924, they welcomed their second child and first baby girl, June Viola into their arms, who joined her older brother, Robert. They eventually embraced younger siblings, John, Charlotte, Vivien, and Milton into their fold. In spite of their age differences, all six siblings created a bond which continued throughout their lives; however, the four older children experienced a different lifestyle due to economics and the health of their parents.
To support their growing household, June’s father was a hardworking farmer who worked tirelessly his whole life through. He never owned land of his own but rented farmland in the area. Times were often difficult as setbacks such as heart issues, the loss of a huge hog herd, the Great Depression and high rent plagued his livelihood. June’s mother remained at home as a busy mother and homemaker, and supported her husband on the farm. The Johnson family got away when they could to visit extended family. In June’s early years, the holidays were celebrated with church services, at home and with her grandparents. Excitement filled the room when they would finish dinner and then wait for her parents to bring in the Christmas tree from its hiding place and decorate it for all to see.
Raised in a family of faith, June and her family attended the Swedish Lutheran Church where she grew in her personal walk with the Lord. In her youth she often attended bible camp in the summer and was involved with the youth program at church.
As a young girl, June enjoyed a typical childhood of her generation. She had her share of house and farm chores, and often helped with younger siblings. She loved playing with her dolls and spent a lot of time outdoors. June loved fresh picked raspberries and peaches as a child and to her, there was nothing like a fresh, fried Spring chicken, especially the way her mother made it! June’s mother taught her to read which became a lifelong passion. She remembered fondly a first-grade book about a bear and her mother teaching her to say the word, “kerplunk.” From that point on she was a voracious reader.
June attended a one-room schoolhouse in their small community. She went on to attend nearby Elmore High School in the ninth grade and from grades ten to twelve she went to East Chain High School where she graduated with the Class of 1942. With dreams of becoming a nurse, June began her studies at the Lutheran Bible Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated in 1944, yet World War II was well underway, and with her mother being ill and the birth of her youngest brother, June remained at home to help out for two years. In 1946, she attended Gustavus Adolphus College for a semester then onto Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota where she attained her registered nursing degree in 1949. Even though her nursing school days were delayed for a time, June enjoyed her studies and the hard work and sense of accomplishment that went along with it. Throughout her career, June worked in labor and delivery, general duty, and surgery. As a nurse, June was highly skilled, dependable and always displayed empathy and offered comfort to her patients.
Life as June knew it forever changed when she met the young man who would always have her heart, Lyle Seestrom. She was introduced to him through his sister, Edna, who was also a nurse and a good friend of June’s. They met while visiting her friend’s family home in Ashland, Wisconsin on a “deep-sea” fishing excursion on Lake Superior. Lyle worked as a purchasing agent for a manufacturing firm in Chicago and despite the distance, they began dating. June loved that Lyle was a Christian man, and he was kind and generous. He also had a nice, dry sense of humor, and she loved his beautiful blue eyes! Following a three-year, long-distance courtship, June and Lyle were joined in marriage on July 13, 1957, at Elim Covenant Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. It meant so much to June that her entire family was able to attend her wedding, including her young nieces and nephews. The newlyweds honeymooned in a cottage on the North shore of Lake Superior before heading to the Canadian border for some sightseeing.
June and Lyle made their first home together in a rented apartment in Chicago, Illinois for five years. Although small, June loved hosting family and friends there. It was also where she and Lyle were blessed with the birth of their daughters. Lois came along in 1958, and Karen completed their family in 1960. In 1962, they packed up their family and moved to the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove at 249 55th Place. When her girls were young, June remained at home as a loving and dedicated mother. Although conservative and strict as a parent, June was just as loving and tender. She made a wonderful home for Lyle and the girls, and together they modeled attributes such as dependability, honesty and a good work ethic toward their children. Foremost, they instilled in them a love for the Lord through their deep, abiding faith.
For almost 50 years, June and Lyle were active members of Villa Park Covenant Church in Villa Park, Illinois. June served in many capacities at church over the years. She taught Sunday School and took part in bible studies and women’s ministries. She especially enjoyed the “Sowers” ministry at church which utilized her sewing and quilting skills, having made dozens of quilts and lap robes donated to missions.
When her daughters were older and in school, June resumed her nursing career, working at Hinsdale Hospital in a variety of area. As a homemaker, June loved to cook and bake, often making many family favorites. Her specialties included coffee cakes and muffins she loved sharing, and her Sunday dinners were always the best. Everyone was welcome at June’s table and made to feel at-home. Whether it was simple macaroni and cheese for the grandkids or an elaborate holiday feast, June loved making meals for her family. Family vacations were often spent visiting relatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. For many years they spent time at June’s brother’s cabin at Lake Ida, Minnesota where numerous memories were made and enjoyed. In later years during their retirement, June and Lyle vacationed at Big Bay De Noc, Michigan, usually with their daughters and their families which June treasured. After retiring, she and Lyle also went on road trips to Washington State and Arizona.
Talented in many ways, June spent a good deal of her free time sewing, quilting and doing other handiwork. She learned to sew from her mother early on and it truly paid off as she used this skill making clothes for herself and her daughters. In retirement, she gave of these talents selflessly making many quilts with much love for family members. Another beloved hobby of June’s was making scrapbooks for her daughters and grandchildren which included precious family stories, tidbits about her and photos. All of these things remain special treasures.
June loved the hymns of her youth, and choruses as well as classical music. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross” and “Thy Holy Wings, Dear Savior” were just a few of her favorites. Being an avid reader, June rarely read fiction, but did like reading biographies and historical books. Throughout her life, her favorite book was the Bible. She read her bible and had devotions each morning which was the only way she knew and wanted to begin her day. Dear to June’s heart were the bibles given to her by her father, and others she had during her nurse’s training and early years of marriage. Other possessions that were close to June’s heart were family photos and letters, and family items, which were few. Cherished dishes and a few furniture pieces from her parents and Lyle’s parents remained special to her, as well.
June Seestrom’s faith was a testament to her unwavering belief in her Lord and Savior. Steadfast and committed in all she said and did, she lived by her convictions and moral compass. She loved her Lord with all she had, and her family, too. A hard-working woman, she also loved working with her hands, especially through sewing, quilting, gardening and even cleaning. She especially loved taking care of her loved ones and her kindness towards others knew no bounds. “Count that day lost whose low descending sun views from thy hand no worthy action done” by an anonymous writer was a message June’s father wrote in her childhood autograph book which she often quoted. Although June will be deeply missed, we find peace knowing she is at last resting in the arms of her Savior.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
SEESTROM – June V. (Johnson) Seestrom age 98, of Grand Rapids died on August 24, 2022. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lyle Seestrom; and her siblings, Robert (Eleanor) Johnson, John (Audrey) Johnson, Charlotte (LeRoy) Erlandson, Vivien (Ralph) Steinbach and Milton (Charlotte) Johnson. June is survived by her daughters, Lois (Ken) Anderson and Karen (Daniel) Ahlem; grandchildren, Eric (Nicole) Ahlem, Elizabeth (Riley) Clark, Hannah (Jonatan) Saldner, Karl Ahem, Erin Anderson, Luke Anderson and Mark Anderson; great-grandchildren, Nora, Henry, Elliot and Ingrid; and brother-in-law, William Miller.