Melba Odelia (Tenney) Tengesdal, 96, of Appleton, Wisconsin died April 16, 2021 while at Willow Lane Assisted Living in Appleton. She was born on June 27, 1924 to Ansel Arthur and Dina Bergitta (Lien) Tenney in Madison, MN and grew up in nearby Litchfield. Melba attended St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN), the first in her family to graduate from college, and became a Certified Dietitian, her life’s professional vocation.
She married Peter “Pete” Tengesdal of Maxbass, ND on August 12, 1951 in Northfield and then joined Peter as he studied at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN) and was ordained to be a pastor in 1954. Together they had four children: Jeffrey, Patricia, Mark, and Daniel.
Melba worked as a Dietitian at Martha and Mary Nursing Home (Poulsbo, WA) and Kah Tai Care Center (Port Townsend, WA), and as a long-time pastor’s spouse leading Bible studies, choirs, Sunday School, quilting, cooking, making music, hosting parties, and more, in congregations where Pete was called as pastor: Williston, ND, Ballard, WA, Poulsbo, WA, and Tacoma, WA. Though they served and lived in many places, their longest residence was in Poulsbo. Melba moved to Bismarck, ND and Appleton, WI to be near Jeff’s family in the last decade, sharing her faith and smile, and touching many with her steadfast love of God. Melba was proud of her family’s Norwegian heritage. She collected many things throughout life and from her many travels with Pete, but probably none more famous than her dolls and the many outfits she made for them, and her international nativity sets which gave her joy.
Melba lived a very full life, and her legacy lives on in her loving family and their many vocations. She is survived by son Jeff Tengesdal (Barb) of Appleton, WI, daughter Tricia Siburg (Dave) of Fremont, NE, and son Mark Tengesdal (Lisa) of Plano, TX; grandchildren Timothy Siburg (Allison), Thomas Francis-Siburg (Orsure), Tamara Siburg, Joren Tengesdal (Jacie Jones), and Britta Tengesdal; great grand-daughters Caroline and Coralynn Siburg; siblings Elaine Vangerud, Roger Tenney, and Dorothea Tenney; and many others whom Melba “adopted” into her family throughout her nearly 97 years of life, including Gail Hovick, and Margo Holm and her children Matt and Jen. The family is very thankful for Melba’s special care and friendships at Willow Lane Assisted Living during the last 7 years. She was preceded in death by her parents Ansel and Dina, husband Pete, and son Daniel.
Funeral services will be on Saturday May 29th at 2 pm at First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, WI. Interment and a potential celebration of life will occur at Poulsbo First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo, WA in early August 2021 as COVID protocols permit.
Memorials or donations may be made to First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, WI and/or Poulsbo First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo, WA.
Live streaming can be accessed by clicking on the link at 1:55 PM on Sat May 29 https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/24123549
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