Obituary: Sigrid Edith Christiansen Ostrem

Sigrid Edith Christiansen Ostrem died on January 22, 2023, in St. Paul, MN at the age of 88. Sigrid was born November 19, 1934 in Oberlin Ohio to Olaf and Ellen (Kjos) Christiansen. When she was six her family moved to Northfield, Minnesota when her father joined her grandfather on the music faculty at St. Olaf College. She stayed in Northfield through high school and college, graduating from St. Olaf in 1958.

After a year teaching in St. James, Minnesota, she and a college friend moved to Long Beach, California. There she met Bob Ostrem, a St. Olaf classmate she knew by reputation only, but they soon began a quick courtship and engagement. As Sigrid recounted, Bob told a friend the night they met that he was going to marry Sigrid, and proposed for the first time just a few weeks later – it took a couple of asks before she said yes! In 1958 they married and were blessed with three children: Sten (Jill) of St. Paul, Sue, currently working in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Kristi Lacey of Camrose, Alberta.

After living in Long Beach, Minneapolis, Iowa, and New York, they headed north to Camrose, Alberta, Canada, where they spent 32 years. During that time, Sigrid not only kept the family organized, she also taught music, volunteered on dozens of committees and boards (at one point a member of more than 40 groups), taught courses at Camrose Lutheran Bible Institute (CLBI), directed and sang in choirs and served on the board of Messiah Lutheran Church.

In 1996 they retired, and she and Bob spent winters in Mesa, Arizona, where many fellow retirees, including many of Bob’s family from Alberta, fled to escape the cold. She spent almost every summer of her life in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, where her extended family traditionally spent their summers. Sigrid and Bob made the most of retirement – taking classes, volunteering, perfecting their tennis games, and traveling. Perhaps more than anything, Sigrid was known for her hospitality – she and Bob opened their doors and welcomed friends and family into their home regularly. There was always good food, good conversation and a lot of laughter. After Bob died in 2004, she continued her routine of winters in Arizona and summers in Wisconsin, active in her churches in both locations.

Several years ago she adopted her dog Casey, soon coming to love Casey as much, if not more, than her children! Casey brought joy and companionship to her every day – they were inseparable. As short-term memory problems developed, Sigrid made the move to a senior apartment in Sister Bay and finally to Episcopal Homes in St. Paul, MN, where she died peacefully in her sleep.

Sigrid leaves behind a great many people whom she loved and who loved her, and are missing her presence: Sten, Jill, Sue, Kristi; grandchildren Cooper, Lauren and Meg; sister Julie Christiansen (Carl Dietz), sister-in-law Mary Christiansen, sister-in-law Marion Ostrem, nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.

A Memorial Service will be held at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin on Friday, July 21, 2023 at 1:00 pm, with a reception following at her cottage on Little Sister Bay.