Marion (Sotile) BjerkMarion (Sotile) Bjerk of Grand Forks was called home by the Lord on January 17, 2010 from 4000 Valley Square surrounded by her family and friends.
Marion (Sotile) Bjerk
Marion (Sotile) Bjerk of Grand Forks was called home by the Lord on January 17, 2010 from 4000 Valley Square surrounded by her family and friends.
Marion was born May 17, 1923 in Bell Flower, CA, the daughter of Frank P. Sotile and Willie Oma (Wisdom) Sotile. When Marion was a year old, her family moved to Kearny, NJ near her father’s family. Marion was baptized at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Roman Catholic Church, Newark, NJ. After the untimely death of her father in 1933, the family moved first to Emerson, NE, then to the Fort Sill, OK area, and eventually to El Varano, CA.
In 1942, Marion worked as a Messenger and was one of 40,000 workers employed during WWII at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA. Her aunt, uncle, sister and mother also worked there, and it was here that she met and married K.A. “Pinky” Bjerk who was serving as a First Class Torpedo Man on submarines including the USS Sea Wolf and the USS Nautilus. As a Navy wife, Marion accompanied her husband to the Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, CT. While stationed here they welcomed the birth of their daughter. They were transferred back to Mare Island and in 1946, Marion and her husband moved to Grand Forks.
Marion was a homemaker all of her life, was a wonderful cook, and did foster care for many years. She enjoyed knitting and made beautiful hand knit wool sweaters. She loved traveling, going for leisurely drives in the countryside, playing bingo, and collecting dolls. She had a special love for her grandchildren, was never too busy to babysit, and followed every activity and event they were in. She enjoyed company and visiting with her family, friends, and acquaintances. People who knew her describe her as generous, personable, wonderful, feisty, and more often than not, she gave you a hello or goodbye hug. She never forgot a birthday. One of her favorite things to do was to eat breakfast out with her family.
Marion was proud of her heritage. Her paternal grandfather, Cataldo Sottile, from Palermo, Sicily, immigrated to America and arrived at Ellis Island on the ship “Bolivia” on April 13, 1896 at the age of 31. (Sottile was changed to Sotile.) Her maternal Great-Great Grandmother, White Fawn Casper, was a full blood Cherokee Indian.
She will be forever missed by those who knew and loved her.
Marion is survived by her loyal, loving friend and companion, Mark D. Anderson, Grand Forks, children Barbara Qualls, Greybull, WY, Keith (Debbie) Bjerk, Grand Forks, Donald (Shelly) Bjerk, Nucla, CO, Dean (Lori) Bjerk, Grand Forks, 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, sisters Evelyn Kelley, Pottsville, AK, Frances Saporito, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, Deborah Freitas, Kailua, HI, and brother Gerard Ellis, Santa Rosa, CA, along with a whole host of nieces and nephews from New Jersey to Hawaii.
She is preceded in death by her parents, husband, and great-grandson Joseph D. Cariveau.
A celebration of her life will be held Thursday, January 21, 2010 at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1018 18th Ave. S., Grand Forks, ND. Visitation will be 12:00 p.m. and Mass of Christian Burial will be at 1:00 p.m. Light luncheon to follow the service.
Interment will be in Memorial Park Cemetery of Grand Forks.
Arrangements are with Amundson Funeral Home of Grand Forks, ND.