Myrtle Lundin, age 85, of Milbank, passed away on March 13, 2021, at Milbank Area Hospital - Avera Health.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 18, at Valley Baptist Church in Milbank. Visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, and one hour prior to the service both at Valley Baptist Church. A time of remembrance and sharing will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the church on Wednesday. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery, Stockholm, SD.
While maintaining social distancing guidelines, we are now able to gather for visitations and services. The use of face masks by attendees is recommended, and we will continue taking the necessary steps to keep our facility clean. For those who prefer or require continued precautions, webcasting and/or livestreaming will be viewable on this webpage. The funeral service will also be livestreamed on the Valley Baptist Church Facebook page.
Myrtle Marie Mendel Lundin was born on a farm near Freeman, SD, on July 28, 1935, the youngest of ten children born to David E. and Maria (Hofer) Mendel. A few days after Myrtle was born, she became sick with such a high fever that the family started making funeral plans. She survived, and that strong resilience was a gift God gave her throughout her life. Her mother died from pneumonia when she was one year old. Myrtle’s older sister Lizzie raised her until she was six years old. Then Lizzie left the family to get married, leaving Myrtle to grieve the loss of the only mother she ever knew.
The family worked hard on the farm, raising cows, chickens and pigs, gardening, and working side-by-side in the field. Myrtle thought working together was fun and loved farm life. Her family attended Salem Mennonite Brethren Church. She responded to an altar call to receive Christ into her heart at a church revival meeting when she was eight years old. She was later baptized and joined the church. Myrtle and her siblings rode a horse and buggy to the one-room country school they attended. After 5th grade, her older brother Paulie took her to Freeman Town School in an old Model T Ford. She played trombone in the school band and always loved playing trombone duets with her cousin Joel. School did not come easily for her, and she had to study very hard. Her tenacity paid off when she graduated with honors from Freeman High School in 1953.
She attended Freeman Junior College and lived at home for two more years. She was active in drama and choir. Through chapel services and missionary speakers, Myrtle felt God calling her into Christian ministry. She graduated with high distinction, receiving her Associate Arts Degree in 1955. Freeman Junior College became Freeman Academy (a Christian high school), and continued to be a part of Myrtle’s life as she took part in many Schmeckfest festivals, celebrating her German culture and heritage while supporting the school’s fundraising efforts.
Myrtle graduated in 1957 from Bethel College in Newton, Kansas, with a B.A. in English and a minor in Bible. Her first job was teaching English and supervising the dorm at Central Christian High School in Hutchinson, KS. She became known for inspiring her students to love Shakespeare, and spent her summers working at a Bible Camp in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. In 1959 Myrtle attended Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills Alberta, Canada. She transferred to Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg and graduated with a degree in Religious Education. She also attended USD in Vermillion for five summers, earning her Master’s Degree in English Education in 1963. She taught high school English one year in Alcester, SD, followed by one year in Freeman. While attending InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at USD, Myrtle met John Lundin. They got married on August 18, 1963. John’s mother, Ethel, essentially adopted Myrtle as her own daughter, teaching her many skills she had no opportunity to learn from a mother, such as sewing and entertaining guests in style. She always referred to Ethel as “Mother.”
Myrtle taught college level English at Prairie Bible Institute in Canada and then Grace College of the Bible in Omaha, NE. When Elizabeth was born in 1971 and Judith in 1972, Myrtle became the devoted mother that she never had for herself, quitting her favorite of all jobs to be a stay-at-home mom. She sewed dolls and doll clothes, constructed doll houses and made furniture for them, and spent joyful days reading, singing, listening to Christian radio, gardening, baking, cooking, visiting neighbors and going to church socials with friends at Grace Baptist Church. From 1977-81, Myrtle taught at Temple Christian Academy in Omaha. She taught grade 7-12 English, a Bible class, directed plays and started a school newspaper. She taught one year at Freeman High School from 1981-82 and one year at Corona High School until it closed in 1983. The family moved in 1982 to the Lundin farm place in Stockholm to be near John’s aging parents. They joined John’s home church, the Stockholm Evangelical Free Church, where Myrtle taught adult Sunday school and led WMF. She was known for hosting six-course Sunday dinners with guests each week.
Myrtle served the Stockholm community with as much energy and passion as she had put into her teaching. She served as president of Harmony Homemakers Extension Club, president of Stockholm Community Club, and Town Board member for many years. She was Grant County librarian at the Stockholm branch where she organized reading programs for the town kids every summer. She was a guest speaker at many women’s events and retreats in the area. Together, she and John were known as “the good Samaritans of Stockholm,” helping many elderly residents in town. She baked hundreds of Christmas cookies to take to friends and neighbors as the family went around Christmas caroling.
When the Free Church closed in 1989, the Lundin’s joined Valley Baptist in Milbank where Myrtle served as WMF president, church librarian, adult and youth Sunday school teacher, mission committee member, and volunteer at AWANA and Adventure club. She served as secretary for the SD Christian Temperance Union. She supported countless Christian ministries and conservative political organizations, and spent much time keeping in touch with missionaries. She served her extended family by organizing and hosting several family reunions on both the Lundin and Mendel sides.
John and Myrtle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2013 and were married a total of 53 years. They enjoyed many long road trips together, and most of their travel destinations were to visit family and friends. They made trips to CA, TX, and of course, many treks out to OH to visit the Schulte’s who lived there for 16 years.
Myrtle was a 29-year survivor of breast cancer and lived a full and vibrant life for most of the 14 months of her battle with pancreatic cancer. She especially loved watching Ohio State and Nebraska Cornhuskers football, watching Fox News programs, gardening, and cheering for her beloved grandchildren, supporting them at all their games and concerts. She once said she believed God’s reward for a job well done was entrusting her with more work to do! Her life was always filled with purpose, giving her all to serve her Savior and serve others unselfishly.
Left to cherish her memory are her daughters: Elizabeth (David) Schulte and Judi (Randy) Wendland, both of Milbank; grandchildren: Isaac, Joseph, and Rachel Schulte; sister-in-law, Lois Foltz of Duluth, MN; sister-in-law, Joyce (Ray) Wegner of Georgetown, TX; brother-in-law, Herb (Mary) Lundin, sister-in-law, Sylvia Mendel of Freeman, SD; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents: David and Maria Mendel; husband, John Lundin; sister, Elizabeth (Clifford) Wollman; brother, Roy (Violet) Mendel; sister, Ida (Eddie) Gall; infant sisters: Lillian and Tabea Mendel; brother, David (Alice) Mendel; sister, Tabea (Bill) Koehn; brother, Paul (Angeline) Mendel; sister, Susie Mendel; an infant baby sister; nephews, Gordon Wollman and Andrew Foltz.
Undesignated memorials will be divided between Freeman Academy and Myrtle’s relatives, Dr. Russ and Melody Ebersole, missionaries in Togo, West Africa.
For a list of local florists see our Resources page
ABWE International - Russell E. and Melody Ebersole
PO Box 858, Harrisburg PA 17105
748 South Main Street, PO Box 1000, Freeman SD 57029