MINNEAPOLIS, MN (May 16, 2014) — A funeral service for retired parish minister Alice Anna (Kramer) Danielson, 95, was held April 15 at Augustana Care Center in Minneapolis. She died April 11.
Alice was born on a farm near Waltham, Minnesota, and grew up in rural Iowa. She earned an associate’s degree from North Park College and served many years as a parish minister (the precursor to commissioned minister) in Salina, Kansas, as well as in three Minnesota communities, Duluth, Biwabik, and Richfield.
When Biwabik Covenant Church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007, the congregation honored its founding woman “pastor.”
The original church was started when a prayer group that met at a local IGA grocery store was interested in beginning a new work. In 1956, the Evangelical Covenant Church’s Northwest Conference asked Alice to survey the need for a church and its viability.
Alice discerned that the area, where mining companies were being started, was fertile soil. People were flooding to the area to fill jobs. She started Bible studies, coordinated worship, helped begin vacation Bible schools, and did whatever else was necessary.
“In 1955, I and two high school girls went door to door inviting kids to VBS,” Alice recalled following the anniversary. “By the end of the second week we had 30. After the VBS was over, I stayed in Biwabik and followed up with the parents.”
Raymond Gustafson, a full-time developer pastor, eventually arrived to help plant the church. He is listed as the church’s first minister, but his son, Covenant minister Keith Gustafson, said Alice really deserves to be considered the first. (The Covenant did not affirm the ordination of women until 1976.)
After her years of serving as a parish minister, Alice managed a bookstore. She also worked in real estate with her husband, Stanley Danielson. She also became involved in Covenant ministries to senior adults.
She was preceded in death by her husband and stepson, Woody Danielson. Survivors include stepsons Roland and Dean Danielson; and stepdaughter Marlys Carlson. The funeral service was officiated by Northwest Conference superintendent, Mark Stromberg, who is Alice’s stepgrandson.
Interment was at Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis. Memorials may be sent to First Covenant Church of Minneapolis where Alice was a long-time active member.