Audrey Jean Johnson Friedow Christiansen
Audrey Jean Johnson Friedow Christiansen, 99 years of age, passed away peacefully on March 6, 2023.
Audrey was born February 8, 1924, in rural Kanawha at her family’s home. She was the fourth child of eight born to her parents, Gundvel and Nellie (Hanson) Johnson. Audrey was baptized and confirmed at the Kanawha Lutheran Church and graduated Kanawha High School, class of 1941. While in primary school, Audrey was taught by her older sister Lavonne for a year at Norway #6 (the Johnson Country School). In high school, Audrey was the baton twirler for Kanawha High, which she loved. She also was crowned the first annual Miss Kanawha in 1941 and was selected as Queen of the Mason City Music Festival that year, both events she remembered fondly.
On October 10, 1942, Audrey married her high school sweetheart Doyce Friedow in Bethany, Missouri, prior to his entering the army during World War II. For a brief time early in their marriage, the couple resided in San Diego, CA. Following the war, Doyce and Audrey raised their five children with many happy memories on several farms outside of Kanawha. Doyce raised Poland China hogs with his Friedow family, and Audrey kept an immaculate house and cooked for her family and hired men; she had the coffee pot always on the stove, and her famous brownies and pies were on the table. Audrey enjoyed living close to her extended family in and around Kanawha; there were family holidays and reunions, with many lively stories told over and again. In 1970, Doyce accepted a job with the South Dakota Pork Council, and the family moved to South Dakota for a new adventure. In South Dakota, Audrey began working in the kitchens of local nursing homes and became a certified Food Service Supervisor. After retiring, Audrey helped care for many elderly Madison residents in their homes. After Doyce’s passing in 1992, Audrey was blessed with meeting another wonderful man, Paul Christiansen, of rural Madison, South Dakota. They were married in 2000 at their winter home in Weslaco, Texas. After Paul retired from farming, he and Audrey moved into Madison where they often hosted family and friends. She and Paul were members of St. John’s Lutheran Church. Audrey spent the first 48 years of her life in Iowa and her last 51 years in South Dakota. She returned to Iowa in 2022 as her health declined, and most recently lived in assisted living in Ames, Iowa.
Audrey is survived by four of her children. Donyce (Pete) Eekhoff of White, South Dakota, Holyce Nissen of Ames, Iowa, Joslyn (Gordon) Lubbers of Iowa Falls, Iowa, and Kyle (Jill) Friedow of Madison, Wisconsin, along with her son Monty’s wife Liz (Steve) Hofer of Madison, South Dakota. Audrey also is survived by four step-children—Mary Jo Siemonsma (Jim), Peggy Martin (John), Norma Martin (Bob), and Linda Heilman (Bernie), and their families. Furthermore, she is survived by her 15 grandchildren–DaLayne (Kip) Spier, Lorynda (Jeff) Van Den Hul, Kellyn (Jake) Dix, Matt (Janet) Nissen, Lyndsay Nissen, Kat (Tai) Nissen-Maag, Megan (Rob) Mudd, Amanda Martin, Alison (Tyler) Schuurmans, Bethany (Matt) Kretzmann, Johnny Friedow, Cody Friedow, Eliot Friedow, Quinn Friedow, and Owen Friedow, along with 20 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren. Audrey also is survived by her youngest sister, Dolores Severson, of Luther, Iowa.
Audrey was preceded in death by her parents Gundvel and Nellie; three sisters–Lavonne Freeman, Arlene Engh, and Maryen Thompson; three brothers–Kenny Johnson, Roger Johnson, and Glen Johnson; her two husbands–Doyce Friedow and Paul Christensen; and by a son, Monty Doyce Friedow, a son-in-law, Steven Nissen, and a great-great granddaughter, Penny Van Den Hul.
The family will receive visitors at a viewing on March 17 from 5:00-7:00 at Ewing Funeral Home, Kanawha, Iowa. A funeral service will be held March 18 at 11:00 at Kanawha Lutheran Church, with visitation at the church beginning at 10:00. Interment to follow immediately at Amsterdam Township Cemetery, Kanawha. Lunch to be served in the Church Basement following internment. A separate celebration—a Fellowship of Remembrance–will be held March 19 at St. John’s Lutheran Church fellowship hall in Madison South Dakota, from 3:00-5:00. Arrangements are entrusted with Rustand-Weiland Funeral Chapel of Madison, SD and assisted by Ewing Funeral Home of Kanawha. The funeral service will be livestreamed on the Rustand-Weiland Funeral Chapel Facebook page starting at 10:50 AM.
Audrey’s family would like to thank all the friends and family who wrote many letters to Audrey, called her, and visited her, especially in this last difficult year. Memorials can be directed to the Kanawha Lutheran Church, 125 W. 4th St., Kanawha, Iowa 50447 or St. John’s Lutheran Church, 122 N. Grant Ave., Madison, South Dakota 57042.