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Harriet Vivian Shellum

January 22, 1919 January 28, 2013
Harriet Vivian Shellum
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Obituary for Harriet Vivian Shellum
Dear Friends and Family,
For a woman who never wanted to be classified as really old, Harriet persevered for 94 years. After a long struggle with Parkinson's disease, she passed peacefully at Cedar Crest in Janesville, Wisconsin, her home for more than a decade. We know that in her last breath, she said "Skol!" to Alford as they clinked their tumblers of Scotch and soda. Family was very important to Harriet. She would be thrilled, and perhaps a bit surprised, at the breadth of her influence on family and friends. She took on many challenges as a military wife, world traveler and loving mother, providing a fine road map for all those who knew her. She will be missed! ~The Shellum, Winn, Anderson and Angus Families Harriet Vivian Shellum, age 94, of Janesville, WI, died Monday, January 28, 2013, at Cedar Crest Health Care Center, Janesville. Harriet was born in Barney, North Dakota, on January 22, 1919, one of six children, three daughters and three sons, of George and Amy Hedner, Scandinavian pioneers. She lived and worked on the family dairy farm, graduated from high school and attended the North Dakota School of Science. Harriet met her future husband, Alford C. Shellum, in Wahpeton, ND, where they married in 1940. Harriet stayed in Wahpeton while Alford served as an infantry officer in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Following the war, Harriet accompanied Alford and their growing family to military posts in Fort Meade, Maryland; Bamberg, Germany; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Sendai, Japan; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Seoul, Korea. Harriet and Alford retired from the military and, with their five children, moved to Faribault, Minnesota. Later they resided in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Mesa, Arizona; and finally in Janesville, Wisconsin. Harriet was a dedicated military wife, as well as creative, sharp-witted and indefatigable. She supervised 27 family and household moves, in each location maintaining a comfortable, nurturing home environment for the family. No matter what the assignment, foreign or domestic, she encouraged thrift and family unity. Over the years, Harriet showed her skill as a household organizer, a seamstress, a singer in the church choir and an accomplished cook. In a project initiated during their tour in post-World War II Germany, Harriet and Alford reconnected with their Scandinavian roots. They journeyed to Norway, Denmark and Sweden, discovering the Skjellum, Peterson, Hedner (Olson), and Augustinusen homelands and establishing links with newfound relatives. As a result, Harriet's children and grandchildren have developed lasting friendships with their Scandinavian relatives. In their retirement years, Alford and Harriet moved to the sunny Southwest, played a lot of golf and reconnected with relatives. They traveled across the country in their motor home, visiting family and old military friends and attending weddings, graduations, births and baptisms. Nothing pleased Harriet more than reminiscing with her children, laughing over years of family misadventures. Harriet would agree with Erma Bombeck's words: "Her children made her life important." Harriet and Alford moved to Cedar Crest in 2002. Alford died in September 2005.

Harriet is survived by her daughters: Karen Winn (Janesville, Wisconsin); Rolynn (and Steven) Anderson (Anacortes, Washington); and sons: Steven Shellum (Portland, Oregon); Brian (and Paula DeMuth) Shellum (Alexandria, Virginia); Colin (and Kris) Shellum (Gainesville, Virginia); her brother, Vernon Hedner; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. In addition to her husband, Alford, Harriet was predeceased by her granddaughter, Kristin Shellum; and her son-in-law, Robert Winn.

A memorial service will be held at 12 p.m. noon on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at First Lutheran Church, 612 N. Randall St., Janesville, with Pastor Naomi Garber officiating. There will be no visitation. Burial will be at a later date at Milton Lawns Memorial Park, Janesville. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777 or . The family is being assisted by Brian Hansen Funeral Service, Janesville. Online condolences may be made at

Harriet's family extends their sincere thanks to the staff at Cedar Crest and to the staff at Agrace Hospice for their care and kindness.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

12 p.m. Noon

First Lutheran Church

612 N. Randall St.

Janesville WI
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