Cover photo for Viola Mae Kyrk's Obituary
Viola Mae Kyrk Profile Photo
1922 Viola 2017

Viola Mae Kyrk

February 17, 1922 — November 14, 2017

There will be no formal services at this time for Mrs. Viola Kyrk, 95, of Spirit Lake. Mrs. Kyrk passed away November 14, 2017 at Accura Health Care of Spirit Lake. In 1922 a 14 year old gave birth to my Mom, Viola. Gladys was then turned out by her family. She didn't know what she would do or how she would care for Viola. Gladys married Vi's father, Joe, and was brought to his home to live. But his family didn't like the wild immoral Gladys so Joe left with no word. (They found out later that he went into the Navy). So Gladys put my Mom in her black big wheeled pram and left Joe's parent's home and took Viola to an orphanage. When she was three years old her parents came to the orphanage and said "no grandchild of mine is going to be raised in an orphanage." Eventually, Gladys got a job and met Bill. Bill's wife had died in childbirth and so when they got married it turned out to be, your kid and my kid is beating up our kid. Just kidding of course. My Mom went to live with Gladys on weekends at Bill's farm and spent her school days with her grandparents in town. She tells the story about a parrot that her grandparents had. It would screech her name "Viola Mae Viola Mae" all the time. When her grandparents weren't looking she would take the broom to him and then her Grandmother would see the feathers and say "that dumb bird is molting again". She tells another fun story about the creek near the farm. Gladys would give the three girls old dresses and they would go the creek and slide down a mud bank into the creek. One afternoon Kay got hung up on a broken off tree branch and her dress went up over her head like a cocoon and there she thrashed around until she was covered with mud. The more that Vi and Norma would try to unhook her the funnier it got and all they could do was laugh. Although Kay (who became a Missionary to Chili, South America) gave them whatfor when they finally got her off. Mom loved the chickens on the farm. And years later, I too, cleaned and cared for chickens in the same coop a couple of weeks in the summer. Bill would go with Gladys's Dad to a house of ill repute to drink, play cards, gamble and well, let your mind go wild. Gladys would go out with her friends and maybe come home or maybe not. One summer night Gladys was invited to a tent meeting and took her daughters. It was the first time she had heard The Bible says: "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me." "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" Gladys, Viola, Kay and Norma walked the isle in that tent and became a child of God. Now, how to tell Bill. The next day, Gladys heard the old model T pull into the yard and she went to the screen door. Right behind him came another model T. Gladys says she held her breath as she saw it was the preacher from last night getting out of his car. She saw him poke his head in the passenger side of Bill's car, step up on the running board and stick his seat right out. She could hear them talking. Then she heard them laughing! As Bill finally came through the screen door, it banged, and Bill yelled. "Hey, I want everyone to be ready tonight, cause we are going to a meeting." At the meeting Bill too heard the words that spoke to the eternity in his soul. On the way home Bill began to cry. Gladys said he cried so hard coming in the house that he fell on a table in the hall. He cried so hard that Gladys told him that he had to quit or he would be sick. When Bill finally gained control again he started cleaning house. Everything that reminded him of his wicked life style either went down the drain or the garbage. My Mom said that he even throughout her Old Maid Cards. Their life was so peaceful after that and the farm flourished. The 3 girls started making future plans with the help of Sunday School teachers, their new Pastor and their newly "Born Again" parents. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Mom tells the story of meeting Joe for the first time as the war broke out and men were leaving. Her Dad sent her a telegram to meet him at the Chicago train station. Mom recounts standing on the stairs in her camel colored long coat and looking over the crowd of military men and their families. She watched the train. As people disembarked Joe appeared in the doorway of the train. One glance around and their eyes locked and she knew he was her father. Joe joined the Navy CBs and ran the huge earth moving machines so the soldiers could land on the beach of Normandy (D-Day in 1944.) Here's where my Dad, Herbert Kyrk, comes in. Mom decided to attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. At the same time, my Dad said goodbye to his Swedish immigrant family and the farm (especially the horses) and hitch hiked from the farm to Moody Bible Institute. Yep, they were not only in love but totally devoted to Christ. My Dad's Christian Service assignment was to preach at the Pacific Garden Mission with no mike. (Many years later my husband would preach there too and I would play piano and we would sing duets from the hymnal). Herb graduated from Seminary and took a church in Chicago, not too far away from Billy Graham's church and they ran their Youth Group's together. Dad, Beverly Shae, and Jean Jones would sing on the radio. "The Love of God" How Great Thou Art" "I'd Rather Have Jesus" "It Is No Secret" Then Billy started his Crusades and my Dad and Mom began planting churches with a new denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America. (Immigrants put the "Free" in there because they were free from the state church in Norway and Sweden). We moved, a lot. We met people all over 4 states and established 30 plus churches. As a child I remember my Mom having only one brown polka-dot dress, one skirt and two blouses. (Can't stand brown poka-dots to this day.) Many souls raised their hands and walked the isle as my Dad used his megaphone voice and led people to Christ. Every time someone came to understand and received Jesus as their Savior I got goose bumps and wanted to rejoice right with the angels. Years later my husband would be asked to preach at a couple of Dad's start-up Churches in Florida. Mom and Dad ended up in Minneapolis at the Headquarters for the EFCA as Dad was asked to be the Home Mission Secretary which branched out to Canada and established many churches and two colleges. I left for one of those colleges, Trinity International University (there are 3 now). Oh yes, there was a lot of diversity back in the 1970's, Missionary kids and people from all over the globe attended Trinity! While they were in Minneapolis, Viola took the training at Green Giant and became the switchboard operator. She constantly heard "Ho Ho HO" coming back at her. As they got older, the pull to go South located them in Marietta, Georgia, where they started another church. Dad became the District Superintendent for the South Eastern District of the EFCA. They retired in Fairfield Glade, TN. Dad's brother a retired Baptist minister, and wife, lived three blocks away. They loved it there. No mosquitos! And yes, they started another church. Mom went to Glory today, November 14, 2017, leaving me, Janna, her daughter, and Son-in-law, Norman Erickson. Two grandson's Seth Erickson and Mark Erickson, and 4 great-grandson's, Zachary, Gavin, Austin and Nicholas. When staff at the nursing home asked Vi how she was, she always responded, "Fat and Sassy".
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