Hilvie Elizabeth (Benson) Ostrow obituary

Ostrow, Hilvie Elizabeth Benson, aged 100, died July 27, 2022. A sociable person, Hilvie enjoyed sitting in the lobby of Episcopal Homes and chatting with residents and staff. She shared her joy and smile with everyone she met. Humans fascinated Hilvie. Hilvie’s talents were diverse. She was a musician, had a beautiful voice and played the piano brilliantly even after her 100th birthday. She appreciated all genres of music, but especially loved classical and sacred music. Her real passion was opera. Hilvie taught French and Spanish before getting married and tutored ELL students. Hilvie and Aaron traveled extensively and were particularly interested in Central America, where they undertook numerous study trips. They were lifelong learners and lifelong volunteers, highlighted by their time together as Peace Corps volunteers in Estonia. Mama wrote sensitive poetry, spoke about peace for stricken clergy and lay people and women against military madness and wrote a master’s thesis on Soren Kierkegaard for the Master of Divinity, which she graduated at 60. Hilvie’s father was the last president, loyal to her Lutheran heritage of the Augustana Lutheran Church. Ecumenical in every sense, she served as President of Church Women United. All her life she was concerned with questions of theology. She had a strong sense of equality and human rights principles and respected the company president no more than the person tending their lawn. Hilvie cared deeply about nature and made contributions to many organizations working to protect the environment, such as Audubon and the Sierra Club. She was also a philanthropist, giving generously to Grace University Lutheran Church, Lutheran Social Service, Luther Seminary, homeless projects, poverty, hunger and health projects worldwide and domestically. She supported Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s work to end drunk driving. Her heroes included: Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King and Ruth Youngdahl Nelson. She admired those who stood up for what they believed in, and she taught her children and grandchildren the same values. In conversations with her friends since her death, her humility is often mentioned. She believed in others and loved to validate people. This brought her the deepest joy of her life. Hilvie loved good food, good humor and good conversation. She loved baseball, birds, dogs, detective stories and trees. In a hundred years she has discovered many passions that we cannot all list here. After Aaron’s death, Hilvie became a hospice volunteer, and she also played the piano for those in need. She was an active member of her beloved Grace University Lutheran Church. Wherever she went, she joined committees and participated in educational groups such as the Socrates Club, Great Decisions, and the Human Rights Commission for Golden Valley. In her final years she lived at the Becketwood Senior Cooperative in Minneapolis and at the Episcopal Home Iris Park Commons in Saint Paul. These experiences with residents and staff kept her sane, mentally sharp, and grateful in her later years. The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to everyone who has been so gracious and kind in their support over the last few years. Her long life was filled with devotion, pleasure and, above all, love. She was preceded in death by her parents, Oscar and Elfie (Hanson) Benson, her brother Philip Benson (Janis), and her husband Aaron Ostrow. Hilvie’s children are Laurel Ostrow, Karen Linnea Benson (Robert Callan), and Paul Ostrow (Julie Mattson Ostrow). She was very proud of her DREAM team of five grandchildren – Dylan, River, Emily, Aaron and Matthew. A celebration of life is scheduled for visitation and social time on August 27 at 10:00 am, followed by a celebration service. A light lunch follows at Grace University Lutheran Church at 324 SE Harvard Street, Minneapolis. In lieu of flowers, please donate to one of Hilvie’s favorite organizations or to the Episcopal Homes Foundation.

Released on July 31, 2022

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