In Memory of



Obituary for Elly Rasmussen

Elly Birthe (Nielsen) Rasmussen died peacefully and unexpectedly at her home in Listowel on Friday, May 5, 2023, a few months shy of her 87th birthday.

She was predeceased by her husband Ole Rasmussen (2019) and dear son Lars Rasmussen (2022).

Mother of Hans (Phyllis) Rasmussen of Bloomington, Illinois, and Inger (Bo) Ivo of Bluevale, and mother-in-law of Cathy Rasmussen of Harriston.

Grandmother of Erik Rasmussen of Colorado, Aimee (Mike) Lootsma of Port Elgin, Ole Ivo of Listowel, Aksel Ivo of Bluevale, and Anders Ivo (Melissa) of Alberta. Great-grandmother of Owen, Annelise, Roland, Kris, Arthur, and Anastasia.

Sister of Inger (Povl) Hansen of Denmark.

Elly Nielsen grew up in a rural community in Denmark and met a young soldier when his dog tore the coat of her little sister. Elly showed up to defend her little sister and ended up eventually marrying the dog owner.

A common thread through memories of Elly is her stitching. She wanted to knit a special sweater for her grandson Erik when he was about 5 years old and asked him what he would like on it. He wanted sheep like on their farm with a brown barn like Grandpa’s and an airplane flying over it. He still has that specially designed sweater and now is a pilot flying over other farms.

Elly taught her granddaughter Aimee to knit and always enjoyed it when Aimee would bring whatever she was working on to show her. Aimee also brought projects to her grandmother when she couldn’t figure something out. “I think she really liked it and I loved knitting like she did,” Aimee recalls.

Another grandson, Aksel remembers her sewing skills in other ways. “On the farm as a kid I would wear my ripped jeans out there, and no matter how many times she said, ‘This is the last patch’ she would still put another patch on them. Then, all patched up, Aksel spent the rest of the time shadowing his grandad.

If Elly were fabric herself, she would be a rare combination of burlap and lace – strong to endure the challenges of farm life and delicate enough to calm a crying baby. She could put on a coverall and bottle feed lambs or work with a needle and thread to create delicate needlepoint. She made a beautiful Christening gown, from her own confirmation gown, which was worn by all of her children and grandchildren. Their names are embroidered on it as another family treasure.

Elly learned some of those special skills in homemaking school in Denmark as a young girl and often used them to the delight of all. All the grandchildren recall the special Christmas meals she would make interwoven with Danish traditions including a rice pudding with a hidden almond. The finder of the almond would get a special prize of a Christmas decoration Elly made for that day.

She needed to be made of strong stuff, enduring farm-life hardships in Denmark early in her marriage. The young couple decided to emigrate. With only $50, a two-year-old in hand, and a hidden baby bump, they set sail to Canada in 1960.

As parents of three young children, Ole worked his way up from a farm hand to farm manager until they bought their own farm in 1968 in Fordwich, Ont. Both her children and grandchildren remember many delicious meals at the farmhouse, especially on holidays.

They found much joy in working with the sheep and lambs and made lifelong friends with other shepherds traveling the countryside learning their craft and enjoying each other’s company. Ole and Elly had the rare opportunity of welcoming both five grandchildren and quintuplet baby lambs into the world. They gifted a lamb to each grandchild to help with their future education.

Elly and Ole retired from farming when in their 70s moving to Mildmay. In later years, they lived quietly in Listowel. Even in her last days on earth, she nurtured orchids and other plants which are still blooming in her sunny apartment.

Visitation will be held at the Hardy-Lee Funeral Home, Harriston, on Friday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

The funeral service will be held at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kurtzville, on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Pastor and family friend, Kurt Reinhardt officiating.

Interment in Sunset Mindepark, Puslinch.

Memorial donations to Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kurtzville, or Heart and Stroke Foundation would be appreciated.

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