Saturday, November 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #44 Oliver Ernest Ekstrom

Quick drop page from Destinations, ClubScrap

Ahlver Ernst Ekstrom was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 22, 1903, the youngest child of Swedish immigrants. His oldest sister, Gertrude, did him the favor of Anglicizing his name to Oliver Ernest when she took him to enroll in school for the first time.

Oliver's father, Gustaf Emil Ferdinand Ekstrom, made a comfortable living as a tailor, permitting Oliver to attend school when many of his peers were dropping out to work. Oliver's mother, Agnes Emilia Fors Ekstrom, was a woman of deep faith, no doubt encouraging Oliver's love of God and dedication to His work.

At one time, Oliver worked for a safe company. One day he was using a screwdriver on a safe and it slipped, gouging into his eye and blinding it. From that time he wore glasses.

He pursued a religious education as a night student at Moody Bible Institute. There Oliver met Ruth Dorothy McFarlane, whom he married in Chicago on July 14, 1923. They had five children. In 1925, Ruth and Oliver were accepted into the Central American Mission (CAM) and assigned to the ministry in Guatemala.

After Ruth's untimely death in April, 1931, Oliver enlisted the help of various family members in the Chicago area. Leaving the children scattered, he returned to the Guatemala work.

In November, 1931, family legend says that he reluctantly traveled to Port Barrios to meet a newly assigned missionary. It was "love at first sight" when he met Bessie Douglas Cushnie. They married on October 11, 1932, at San Miguel Acatán, Guatemala. Bessie and Oliver had two children, one of whom was born after Oliver's death.

Oliver suddenly sickened while on a trip in October, 1935, dying on the 22nd. The CAM article on his death contains an error, as Oliver died from typhus, rather than typhoid. Typhus was a deadly disease requiring quarantine. The attending physician wrote his diagnosis as typhoid instead, because he knew Bessie was a nurse and would be able to care for Oliver as adequately as the hospital.

Oliver was buried in an unmarked grave at San Pedro Sacatepéquez, Department of San Marcos, Guatemala.

The CAM article also tells us about his life and his death:
To know Mr. Ekstrom was to love him and it was not long until his smiling face and cheery laugh were known all over the republic. Besides being a good preacher and a tireless evangelist, Mr. Ekstrom had marked musical ability and any service in which he had a part was certain to be one of life and interest. ...  
Every possible care was given this dear brother by his wife and fellow missionaries and by the local doctor but as the days passed it was evident that his heart could not stand the strain. He seemed to know that his life's work was ended and among other precious words, he said to his wife, "There are four things I am sure of; I am saved, I love you, I am going to heaven and we will meet again some day."
"Oliver Ernest Ekstrom", The Central American Bulletin 203 (Nov., 1935): 3-4, 15-16.

1 comment:

  1. Beth, I've just finished reading all of your posts on your 52 ancestor projects. It is fascinating. What a lot of work it took to do all the research and then create the layouts and the posts. A tremendous project and labor of love that I hope will help you fill in the gaps in your families.