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Erika Rund

1926 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Erika Rund Obituary
Rund, Erika Valentina

Erika Valentina Rund, 91, died peacefully in her sleep at her daughter's home on August 28, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband, Wilbur (Bud) Rund; her mother, Jael Wilhelm, both of Okarche, OK; and sister, Sonja Wilhelm, of Albuquerque, NM. She is survived by her daughter, Gina Shaw; son-in-law, Joe Shaw; two granddaughters, Romy Keegan and Rachael Sanchez; and three great-grandsons, Thomas and Django Keegan, and Silver Leon Sanchez, all of Albuquerque, NM.

Erika was born in 1926, in Mineralyne Vody, Russia, to German immigrants enlisted to help increase Russian wheat production under a program initiated by Katherine the Great. Her family later moved back to Germany, where Erika's younger sister, Sonja was born. The two girls trained in classical ballet, later formed a professional ballet partnership and Erika and Sonja danced throughout Europe prior to and after World War II. Her father, Karl Wilhelm died in the war, but Erika and her mother and sister survived the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden and later moved to Hamburg, on the North Sea.

She first immigrated to America with her young daughter, sister and mother in 1957 to be near her mother's relatives. Erika was a dedicated, life-long caregiver and companion to her sister, Sonja, who had been blinded during a post-war brain surgery. Often referring to herself as a "Jack of All Trades and Master of None," Erika did what many legal immigrants do in this country. Once she cleared all the hurdles and gained her "green card," she took advantage of every opportunity that presented itself to support her family. In her case these included: professional dancer, photographer, and dark-room technician, restaurant owner and operator, nurse's aide, and last for 20 years a Lutheran pre-school teacher in Okarche, OK. She had lived there with her husband, Bud Rund, to be near his extended family and remained after his death in 1987. Following her retirement from teaching, Erika and Sonja moved to Albuquerque in 2000 to be near Erika's daughter, Gina and other extended family.

Throughout her life Erika had a forceful personality. She was a tough, resilient witness to history and a true survivor. For her strengths, her courage, and for her years of personal sacrifice in the faithful, compassionate care of her blind sister, she will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed. The family wishes to thank the residents and staff of Las Colinas Assisted Living for their loving support, particularly during Erika's final months and weeks, and Home Heritage Hospice for their care and assistance during her final days.

A Memorial Service will be Saturday, September 2, 2017, 10:00 a.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 300 Gold Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102. Although Erika did not live long enough to fully succumb to this devastating disease, a small donation to the , in lieu of flowers would be greatly appreciated by the family. Please visit our online guestbook for Erika at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on Aug. 31, 2017
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