Natalie Gulbrandsen (1919-2007)
Every once in a while in the years I worked closely with Natalie Gulbrandsen, and felt like picking on her a bit, or I just wanted to see that wonderful look she got on her face when she was annoyed with me, I would call her, “Mom” - and sure enough, she would assume the look and tell me to “cut that out.”
It was all in good fun and Nat likely didn’t attach any significance to those little exchanges, but she would probably be surprised that I did. Not because there was any real substance to them - they were a kind or oral cartoon illustrating in a positive, natural way, many of the qualities I saw in Nat.
In a lot of ways Nat was kind of a “Mom” to the Board of Trustees and to the General Assembly, and to a lot of us out in our congregations as well. A certified positive thinker, she always expected the best of us as individuals and as an institution, and was disappointed when we gave less than our best. Her spirit of affirmation and enthusiasm came not from any lack of critical faculties -- believe me, she knew how to use the sandpaper as well as the silk handkerchief. Her motivating spirit came from an abundance of faith in, and hope for, our religious community.
Nat was someone with a twinkle in her eye and in her whole manner. She was someone who was serious, but did not take herself seriously. Nat could tell us when we were being foolish without making us feel foolish. She kept her mind open, but also knew when to take a stand.
Nat was a woman whose devotion to our Association and to what it stands for - and ought to stand for - was strong. She not only acted and spoke for in the name of our Association, but by her efforts gave it class and character. Thanks, Mom!
Labels: Extra Innings