Elaine Charlotte Johnson was born to Harry and Alma Johnson on July 6, 1926, at their farm home in Eddy County, North Dakota. She was baptized at Kvernes Lutheran Church. She confirmed that baptismal promise in the same congregation on October 20, 1940. Growing up on a farm during the depression years offered an indelible lesson of a family and a community that supported one another and lived in joy with what they had.
Elaine attended consolidated school in Brantford, followed by one year in New Rockford in 1943. She then then enrolled in Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota. She left before completing her BA to teach a year in a rural school. When she returned to Concordia, she met Richard (Dick) Rodning, to whom she became engaged. After Dick was ordained, they were married on January 6, 1948, in Marysville, Washington, where Elaine’s parents had relocated. Their first parish was on Vashon Island. The two became a team, serving the Lord together in seven parishes before Dick retired in 1988.
During their many years in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, she enjoyed directing children’s choirs, as well as raising her own five children. When the youngest started school, she earned her BA degree at Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington. She then began teaching full time in Lancaster, California, where she taught home economics. After a move to Montana, she served as a county extension agent. In Tacoma, Washington, she taught for nine years in Lincoln High School.
By that time Elaine and Dick had moved to Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community, and she was also exceptionally active in the church. She served at Salishan Lutheran Mission and at Lutheran Community Services. She taught for LAMP in the Haid community on the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. She represented her synod in Namibia and South Africa. She was president of the synod’s ELCA Women’s organization.
Elaine was a tailor and excellent seamstress. Her talents are perhaps most remembered for the countless number of quilts she participated in making while at St. Marks. An accomplishment that is honored with a paving stone at Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, Maryland. She was also very active in gathering medical supplies for Global Health Ministries and supporting Bread for the World, and continuing to express her love of children through teaching Vacation Bible School.
The death of her beloved husband in March 2021, Dick, after 73 years of marriage, was a loss from which she could only barely begin to heal. Elaine is survived by three daughters: Rebecca (Don) Frank of Murietta, California; Sharon (Mike) Rodning Bash of Minneapolis and their son, Nate (Jennifer) Cross Bash, and great granddaughter Isla Rose, and daughter, Eleanor (Brad Cooke) Bash and great granddaughter Ivy; Susan of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Two sons preceded Elaine in death: Nathan in 2002, who is survived by his wife, Claudia, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and daughters Karin and Erika; and Steven, in 2016, who is survived by his wife, Celeste Collier, of Baltimore, Maryland and his family, Philip and Kirsten Rodning of Georgia, and Carley (Larry) Czyzewski and granddaughters Juliana and Olivia, and Jessica (Roger) Fawley and great grandsons Alex, Jonathan and Jeremy.
Elaine’s joy was always in knowing that her Redeemer lives, and that her two sons and life partner, Dick, will meet her in heaven.
If you wish to honor Elaine with a gift, her wish is that donations be made to
Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, Maryland https://lwr.org/
St. Mark's Lutheran Church by the Narrows, Tacoma, Washington https://www.smlutheran.org/
If you are unable to attend, the service will be live streamed at 1 pm and will also be available for viewing at a later time. To join the service via live stream, please connect to the homepage of St. Marks Lutheran Church by the Narrows, www.lutheran.org or Memorial Service for Elaine Rodning – St. Mark's Lutheran by The Narrows (smlutheran.org)
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elaine Charlotte (Johnson) Rodning, please visit our floral store.