Updated 09 June 2009
Melita "Mickey" Helen (Nemmers) Amundsen and Gerry Lauters at the cemetery in Le Mars, IA. They were first cousins in-law. Gerry married Vincent G. Lauters, son of Joseph George Lauters and Magdalena Helen "Lena" Ley.
Descendants of Amund and Martha Amundsen.
1. Ray Paul Amundsen (05 Jan 1910 - 12 Oct 1988) married Melita Kathryn Nemmers on 20 Nov 1937 at St. Joseph's Church in Sioux City, Iowa.
Ray Paul Amundsen
January 5, 1910 - October 12, 1988
written by Carol, Mary, and Robert Amundsen
Our dad was born and raised in Union County, South Dakota, one of 17 children of Norwegian parents, Amund and Martha Amundsen. He spent his early years farming in South Dakota. His father died when he was 14 years old, and he and a couple of his brothers and his mother continued farming until the great drought and the depression made farming all but impossible. In the early 1930's he moved to Sioux City, Iowa and worked as a carpenter (skills he learned from his brother), as a laborer with the WPA and eventually with Swift Meat Co.
On December 31, 1936 at a New Year's eve party, he first met Melita Nemmers (they met by the kitchen sink) and thus began the most memorable year of his life. Dad had been raised in the Norwegian Lutheran tradition, but as love grew between Mom and dad, he decided that he wanted to become Catholic so that they could share their faith life together. On July 4, 1937 Dad entered the Roman Catholic Church, and on November 20, 1937 he and Mom were married at St. Joseph's Church, Sioux City.
In 1938, Dad went to Toledo, Ohio for training as a meat cutter, but on returning to Sioux City he found that there were no jobs open to him in meat packing because of his involvement in organizing the United Meat Packers Union. So he and mom moved to Seattle, Washington where they lived and worked for almost a year. Many of mother's family had moved to Denver, and thus they decided in 1939 to move here. In 1942, they purchased a home in South Denver and have lived in the same house since.
In the early years here in Denver, Dad worked both in his own business and for Pepper and Cudahy Packing companies. For health reasons, he left the packing house in 1952, and in 1953 Fr. Damen McCaddon asked him to take charge of maintenance and custodial work at Our Lady of Lourdes parish. He remained at Lourdes for the next 19 years, retiring in 1972. He, of course, did not stop working, but, in his own words, "Now I can do what I want, when I want!" Throughout all these years and in the years since 1972 he worked as a private contractor, putting to use his skills as a carpenter to remodel houses, do repair work and be available to our many neighbors, friends and acquaintances who needed any special carpentry work done.
In the years of his "retirement" there were three special joys in his life. The first was that he and mom could spend lots of time together, working in the garden, traveling, having friends over, and not having to worry about us kids (at least not as much as when we were growing up). The second joy was being with and being there for the grandchildren (at least he could worry about them!). And the third joy was being a member of the Denver Mile-Hi Chorus of the Society for the Preservatioin and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA).
Dad was a faithful friend of the Lord in all things. He celebrated life, bringing the joy of music and laughter to others and giving unselfishly of his time, talent and resources to those in need.
Mom and Dad shared almost 51 years of married love. They grew daily in this love and lived the reality of the vowed commitment they made "for better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part." They showed us that a promise more than just words and that true love does grow deeper and stronger as the years pass by. And we shall always be grateful to both our parents for their gift of married love given to us.
His was a full life, and even after he became ill he worked to finish up a number of projects that he had going. And when all was done, he had, in the words of Pope John XXIII, "his bags packed and he was ready to go." In the peaceful and gentle healing hands of the Lord, he was called home on October 12, 1988. May he celebrate in joy forever.
Carol, Mary and Bob