Dad lived out Gal 2:22-23

Dad (Web Ekstrand)


My brother Don posted the following reflections about Dad on facebook.  I decided to copy them here to share them with more people. They are a wonderful description of who he was.  Thanks Don.

An example to follow:
On Monday, Dec. 24, we celebrated the life of my Dad, Wilbur Ekstrand. He passed away on the 19th at 82 years old after a very full and fulfilling life. Reflecting on his life, this verse comes to mind. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23

To Dad, love was an action as much as an emotion. He would help a stranger in need as quickly as he would help his friends. Not only would he help a stranger, but he would treat that person with great respect as he did so.

One of Dad’s many expressions was, “Work hard, play hard.” On the farm he worked VERY hard but took joy in his work. He also knew that fun was important, so we played hard — water skiing, family vacations, card games around the table, or tobogganing at Twin Lakes. Dad would really whoop it up, smiling and laughing, even at himself.
Dad also found much joy with his children’s friends, often playing cards around the kitchen table after an evening of water skiing. We knew he really enjoyed them, and they always felt comfortable in our house. He also took joy in our many endeavors, our school activities, jobs, and especially in our spouses.

I have never heard my father say a bad word about anyone — in the community, at church, a relative or a family member. I cannot remember him ever having a bad relationship with anyone. He was a man of peace and kept good relationships with everyone around him.

Not only was Dad a patient man, he extended grace to his family. When I put holes in the fence while plowing or when I badly injured a 3-day old pig giving iron shots (I pushed the needle too far into the tissue) he never was upset with me. Even when I fell asleep at the wheel and drove our family car in the ditch on way home from a day of fishing he wasn’t angry. Dad was a man of grace.

Dad loved to meet new people. His interest in who they were, where they were from and their stories was genuine. He made everyone, neighbor, friend, stranger, or relative feel not only welcome but accepted and loved. One verse Dad loved to quote, especially to sons who loved to argue, was Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath…”

Dad was a very unselfish man. He never sought position or attention for himself. He was generous, though not extravagant, to people around him.  He also taught his children responsibility. His requirements didn’t focus on particular rules but on the responsibilities that come with living wisely. The times he was angry with me were because I wasn’t responsible.

Dad was always faithful to his wife. He was faithful in the way we usually define it, but also by always purchasing a nice and appropriate gift for Mom at Christmas and for her birthday. His faithfulness was also evident in his unchanging commitment to his faith, to the church, to his children, and to loving his neighbors.

Dad was never demanding though he expected much of his children. He only gave me jobs that were appropriate for my abilities, but they often encouraged my growth. As we matured he allowed us to move away without demanding that we come home regularly or call at certain times.

On the farm, Dad always had too much to do, so he did the important things and left the less important undone, such as keeping a clean machine shed. He was not bothered or overwhelmed by things that were difficult. Instead he carefully thought about how to approach a situation and make it work. His solutions were not the most expensive but workable and suited to the materials and time at hand.

LOVE (again):
Love mattered to Dad more than a correct theology; he wasn’t bothered by others who believed differently. In our community of Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists and those who never attended church, Dad had strong friendships with them all. He was never a Pharisee who demanded others be like him in order to be accepted. He truly knew how to love his neighbor.

My Dad, Wilbur Ekstrand, set a wonderful example for all of us to follow. He embodied the truths in the verse above, becoming the lamp that is set on the stand so that it “gives light to all in the house.” (Matt. 5:15). Dad showed the way; you could see Christ in Him. Jesus’ words in John 17 ring true in his life, “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Thank you Dad, for setting such a great example.

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2 Responses to “Dad lived out Gal 2:22-23”

  1. Words fail me at a time like this. My grandmother Mabel Youngdale had always spoke so fondly of the Ekstrand family. Her maiden name was Ekstrand, but I never thoroughly understood how everyone was related. Mabel’s husband John , my grandfather was a great man who came to Iowa in the early days with his father Alex and mother Sophia ; Alex pastored the Swedish Covenant Church in Pomeroy for a season.

    I had met Web only one time in my life. I was passing thru Iowa on the way back from the memorial service of my grandmother Lorine Sandberg who lived in Minneapolis. Web and Marian gave me a room in the farmhouse and a great dinner with Aunt Millie (Smith) at a local restaurant that night. In the morning we had breakfast and I could see Web tending to the hogs out by the barn.
    I had purchased a pick-up truck back in the Twin Cities. It had standard transmission and was dificult to shift. Web gave me some advice on it and it made a difference as I had to drive it all the way back to California.
    Since that time, which was 1981, I had talked to Web and Marian over the phone several times just to keep in touch, and with letters and some e-mail.
    I have more but must stop at this time for now. I think it is sufficient to know that Wilbur Ekstrand is in Heaven with Jesus at this time. With that we can all rejoice, and praise God.

    David Youngdale

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  2. One correction here as my great grandfather’s name was Axel, not Alex. Of course I never met him as he passed on before I was born. His wife Sophia passed on in 1950, 3 years before I was born. This is what I remember at best.


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