- About Us
KEWANEE – Miriam R. Gustafson was born January 16, 1918 during a snowstorm at the Yates City farm home of her parents, Joy L. and Margaret (Mathews) Ralston. When she was 10 and a half her mother died. Miriam’s mother had encouraged her father to marry again, even suggesting her best friend, Eunice Lawrence as the perfect choice. When Miriam was in high school her father married Eunice, who had been Miriam’s 2nd grade teacher.
She graduated from Yates City High School with the class of 1936. She attended Western Illinois University for two years, earning her teaching certificate. Her first teaching job was in a one room country school in rural Kewanee. It was there that she met her husband, Oscar Gustafson, whom she married on July 22, 1941 at Zion Lutheran Church in Kewanee. He preceded her in death on March 30, 1994. Miriam had also taught in a one room school in DeLong and taught 6th grade at Wethersfield for 23 years. During World War II she worked at the Boss office in Kewanee. While attending high school and college she worked as a housekeeper and telephone operator.
Miriam had been a member of Zion Lutheran Church for 77 years. She taught the Adult Bible class for 41 years; sang in the church choir, played in the bell choir, served as an educational ministry workshop presenter for the LCA, volunteered at LOMC and was a 50-year member of the Omega Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma. She was a member of the first group to be inducted into the Wethersfield Academic Hall of Fame. She was still an active member of Wethersfield and Henry-Stark Retired Teachers, Dorcas Circle and the Joy Bible Study Group.
Survivors include her daughter, Linnea Gustafson of Kewanee, her son, Markel Gustafson and his significant other, Laurel Paulsen of Oak Lawn, her grandchildren, Christopher Gustafson of Chicago and Mary (Nick) Caruso of Alsip, her great grandchildren, Ethan and Morgan, a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Marvin (LuAnn) Gustafson of Galva and many nieces and nephews. She was also preceded in death by her parents, step-mother, Eunice Ralston, her sister and brother-in-law, Joyce (Chuck) Williams, daughter-in-law, Michele Gustafson, three nieces; Pamela Gustafson, Kristine Hemphill and Tammy Lewis and her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; Agnes (Bill) White, Lennart (Lucille) Gustafson, Laurence Gustafson, Helen (Milt) Hultgren, Harold (Donna) Gustafson and Edith (Roger) Polson.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, July 28 at Zion Lutheran Church in Kewanee. Pastor Kristine Dohrmann will officiate. Visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Friday, July 27 at the church. Burial will be in Pleasant View Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to Zion Lutheran Church or to the Wethersfield Academic Foundation. Rux Funeral Home in Kewanee is in charge of arrangements.