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Estelle Nelson Pelak

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Estelle Nelson Pelak died on December 31, 2007 embraced by family and friends before passing into the arms of Christ. Her life and blessing can be summed up in her and her father's favorite verse,

"I have learned in whatever

state I am,

therewith to be content"

(Phil 4:11)

Services will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1355 Hawthorne Ave., Chico, CA.

Estelle was born at home in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 31, 1912, to Jennie and Christian S. Nelson. She and her two sisters, Edna and Jeanette, were raised by her father and her paternal grandmother, Mary Nelson, after the loss of her mother when Estelle was two years old.

Estelle was editor-in-chief of her school yearbook and graduated from Edison High School in Minneapolis. In 1934 she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, then a new degree for women. She taught home extension classes for rural youth in Coldwater, Michigan from 1935 to 1938. After this teaching tenure, Estelle moved to California. She often recounted how she traveled over the Rocky Mountains at night to avoid seeing the heights.

Her destiny was to marry and share 50 years with Andrew R. Pelak, a classmate from high school where they had been affectionate friends. They were wed in Las Vegas, Nev. on May 7, 1939, between the church and Sunday school hour. Grandmother Mary had previously announced that when Estelle married Andy, Mary would take her leave of this earth. On May 8, "dear Bestemor" (Norwegian for grandmother) died.

The newlyweds' first home was in the Bay Area. Their son, Michael N. was born in 1941, followed by a daughter, Carol Ann in 1943. In 1946, they moved from the Bay Area to Redding, Calif. and opened Redding Automotive Supply, where Estelle did the bookkeeping. Shortly thereafter, in 1947, they opened a shared venture store with nephew Steven Fedorko of Steven's Bearing & Electric Co. in Chico. In 1956, they sold the Redding parts business and moved to Chico, where Andy and Estelle assisted in Northstate Auto Parts with their son.

In addition to her son and daughter, Estelle is survived by four grandchildren, Jeanette M. Stephens, Christopher A. Pelak, Tanya K. Smith, and Bella L. Pelak, all of Chico; and also by her niece and nephew Jeanne E. Cannon and Reverend Richard N. Franks. She has nine great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; and numerous extended family and friends.

Estelle means "star," and her light shone in the heavens through the exemplary Christian life she led. She will be deeply and dearly missed by those who knew and loved her.

In lieu of flowers the family wishes donations to be made either to the Redeemer Lutheran Church for a new electronic organ or to a charity of your choice (for as Estelle said, "Whenever some kindness comes to you, turn that way towards the source," and your heart will lead you).
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Jan. 8, 2008
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