Christine Nesje Redlin
Rapid City, SD
101 years ago, Christine Nesje was born the daughter of Norwegian immigrant parents, on a productive farm in Divide County, North Dakota, one of the last states to invite homesteaders to take a chance at farming on the High Plains. Chris, her parents, Marie and Rasmus Nesje, and her brother Clifford, embraced farming and found a rich and rewarding life among neighbors and church in their Norwegian immigrant community of Upland Township. Lessons learned on the farm sustained Chris throughout her vibrant life.
Ever curious and hardworking, Chris earned her degree as a registered nurse from the Trinity School of Nursing. She worked as the head nurse of the surgical floor in Minot at a time when veterans of WWII were returning from war. That degree served her well in the 20 years ahead as Chris and her faithful husband, Rollie Redlin, raised five kids on a farm seven miles away from her parents. Those children, Dan, Ilene, Jenny, Steve, and Lisa loved farm life, but eagerly joined their parents in their move to Washington, D.C. when Rollie was elected to Congress in 1964.
When the Washington chapter ended, the family settled in Minot where Chris dove into 40 years of community life including Christ Lutheran Church, the Minot Public Library, Sons of Norway, Heritage Park, and Hosfest lefse making as a foundation for her efforts. Rollie’s political career continued in the North Dakota Legislature with his supportive partner, Chris, to share the ups and downs of political life.
Chris and Rollie’s adventurous spirits, curiosity, and love of nature prompted them to travel widely and energetically to North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica, often joined by family and friends.
In later life, Chris and Rollie moved to Rapid City, SD to be closer to family. Rollie, her “lock-step” partner of 65 years, died three years later. During her 15 years in Rapid City, dementia slowed Chris, but never stopped her. She enthusiastically joined in road trips, marveling at cherry blossoms, mountain views, expansive prairies, and baby bison. Even at 100 years old, Chris joined an 8-day trailer camping trip in SD, ND, WY and MT. The Adult Day Center of the Black Hills became a social outlet where she could mingle with friends and keep her mind and body invigorated. This year her presence at the SD legislature helped illustrate the need for expanding adult daycare services in the state.
End-of-life changes are daunting, but Chris showed her family and friends an endearing wonder, looking at life free from the burden of the past. For over a century, Chris made our world a better place, filled with love. The funeral service will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City, SD on Friday, March 31st at 10:30. Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home is handling the services. Memorials will be donated to the Adult Day Center of the Black Hills. A memorial date in Crosby, ND is yet to be determined.
Published by The Minot Daily News, March 30, 2023.