Sarah Ann Ekblad(1991 - 2013)

Sarah Ann Ekblad, daughter of the Rev. Andy and Mary Ekblad and eldest sister to Hannah and Leah, was born June 18, 1991, in Seattle, and entered into the liberating joy of her heavenly home on April 4, 2013.
Sarah was a very special person who had sustained a birth injury leaving her profoundly disabled. Nevertheless, Sarah touched so many lives with her gentle, humble, joyful spirit of love. Sarah was a kind of magnet of acceptance and peace who taught those who knew her about being free to express joy. She loved to worship God with her church family at First Presbyterian Church and was known to break out into joyful exclamations of delight during the singing or during her father's sermons.
Sarah taught us about patient endurance as she suffered with such strength, dignity and grace. Sarah taught us that one of the gifts of our brokenness can be the ability to humbly receive what gifts God, people and life have to offer us. Sarah taught us to accept, love and cherish the gift of one another even when the other doesn't look, act, sound or smell like we might hope or want them to.
Sarah taught us to slow down and make space for each other. Sarah taught us that there are some in this life who truly are pure in heart and, as Jesus said, they see God. Sarah was one of them.
Sarah was blessed in this life with many friends and helpers. Her immediate family cherished her and cared for her in home for many years. Sarah lived for a time in a L'Arche Community in Washington and later lived in group homes managed by Fairbanks Resource Agency. There she was lovingly cared for by many exemplary providers. Her family is grateful for these as well as all those in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, teachers, therapists, aids and nurses who supported her.
We are grateful for the many doctors, namely Dr. Foote and Dr. Tsigonis and the wonderful care at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital during her last days. Sarah had an army of support in her life, and for each one, we are very grateful.
Sarah's church family, First Presbyterian, welcomed her with open arms and stood by us as a family through many tough times during the years with grace and mercy. Sarah shaped her church family to be more inclusive, welcoming, merciful and loving to the broken. We are most grateful for this community of faith.
Sarah is survived by her mother and father, Andy and Mary; and her sisters, Hannah and Leah.
A service of celebration for her life and for the hope found in Jesus Christ will be held downtown at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, 2013, at the First Presbyterian Church, 547 Seventh Ave. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts in Sarah's honor be made to the First Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund for the construction of a youth outreach room.

Published in Daily News-Miner on Apr. 7, 2013