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Ascension Lutheran Church
26231 Silver Spur Rd
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
Celebration of Life
Saturday, Jul. 21, 2018
11:30 AM
Ascension Lutheran Church
26231 Silver Spur Road
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
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Delores Skjervem


1934 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Delores Skjervem Obituary
Delores Skjervem

Born a farm girl on August 17th, 1934, in Petersburg, North Dakota, Delores Ramona Skjervem, fondly known to all as Dee Dee, passed away on June 29th in Tanzania while on safari with her family.
Dee Dee was a vibrant member of the Peninsula community for 55 years, and was predeceased by her husband of nearly 63 years, Kenneth, her son, Eric and her parents, Reuben and Rhoda Nash.
With proud Norwegian roots, Dee Dee was raised by her father who instilled strong, midwestern farming values: work hard; be good; love your family; and serve your community. At age nine, following her mother's untimely illness, Dee Dee took over most of the family's household duties. Nonetheless, she persevered at school, was active in her church youth group and maintained close relationships with a few girlfriends who did everything together.
She got her first taste of life beyond the great plains when she traveled by train with her church youth group to Seattle. Soon after, she met the love of her life, Kenneth, at the county fair in Dahlen, North Dakota. In 1954, after Ken returned home from the Marine Corps, he and Dee Dee married and began an amazing life together that would last into their 80s.
Ken's military service included a tour of duty in California that provided a vision for their future together, and Dee Dee was his eager partner for life. Upon completion of their undergraduate degrees, Ken and Dee Dee moved west and embarked on what would become the couple's 60-year love affair with Southern California.
Settling in Palos Verdes in the early 1960s, Ken and Dee Dee started a family, their ultimate goal together. More than anything, Dee Dee loved being a mother to John, Karen and Eric, and eventually a "Grandee" to grandchildren Charlie, Jack, Johanna and James. Together with "Kenpa," she spent countless hours with and in support of her children and grandchildren.
Ken and Dee Dee lived in five homes around the Peninsula and were active in many social, academic and community organizations including the Cabrillo Yacht Club, AAUW, The Peninsula Art Association, Sons of Norway and Ascension Lutheran Church. Among close friends, the couple were regular participants in decades-long bridge, birthday, gourmet and travel groups. Dee Dee was always doing something with energy and vigor that often left her friends and family dazed!
Dee Dee earned her bachelors degree at Moorhead State University, and taught in both the West Fargo (North Dakota) and Torrance school districts. She left teaching when she and Ken started their family, but retained her passion for education and later became director of Ascension Preschool, a position she held for nearly 20 years. While raising a family, running a family business, leading the preschool and serving in her community, Dee Dee also earned a Masters degree at Cal State Dominguez Hills and her Doctorate in Education from Nova University. She taught classes in early childhood education at both Harbor and El Camino Community Colleges, and was a reliable resource for anyone who needed assistance and encouragement with parenting challenges.
Beginning in the early 1960s, Dee Dee and Ken started investing in local real estate, a venture that would become a full-time endeavor for them by the late 1980s. Dee Dee remained at the helm of the family company until the end, presiding over a Board of Directors meeting as President on the day she died. She was an astute business woman and a tireless leader.
Of all their many activities and interests, travel was Dee Dee and Ken's foremost passion. In their lifetime, the couple visited all 50 United States as well as nearly one hundred countries across all 7 continents. While traveling, Dee Dee would frequently visit schools in local communities to learn how each culture educated and cared for its younger generations.
Among the many exciting and often exotic destinations they traveled to, the couple's favorite was Africa. Fulfilling a 30-year promise she made with Ken to return, last month Dee Dee took her children, their spouses, and all four grandchildren on a nearly three-week safari through Kenya and Tanzania. Despite her limited mobility, Dee Dee was as hearty and enthusiastic as ever, never missing a game drive or opportunity to see and learn something new. She died after a long but rewarding day in the Ngorongoro Crater, a fitting tribute to her love of travel and adventure.
Dee Dee leaves her son, John (Marti) of Lake Oswego, OR, her daughter Karen (Patrick) Meezan of Mill Valley, CA all of whom will miss their mom and favorite mother-in-law every day of their lives. Grandchildren Charles Kenneth (Charlie), Jonathan James (Jack) Skjervem, Johanna Hope and James Patrick Meezan, whose lives are better and richer because of their Grandee. Her brother Ronald Nash, and sister-in-law Charlotte Nash of Detroit Lakes, MN, brother-in-law Leland Skjervem and sister-in-laws Edna Johnson, Alice Fontaine and Evelyn Peterson of North Dakota, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Dee Dee was incredibly generous with her time, resources and wisdom. She will be greatly missed by many people who regularly sought her company, compassion, faith, optimism, hope, laughter and love.
A celebration of Dee Dee's life will be held at 11:30am on Saturday, July 21st at Ascension Lutheran Church, 26231 Silver Spur Road in Rancho Palos Verdes. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Foundation or the National Association of Mental Illness.
Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on July 14, 2018
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