Sivia Ella Judith Strom Kleppe, left us peacefully on February 17, 2019 in Sonoma, CA. Sivia will be remembered for her big smile, listening heart and genuine interest in all who touched her life. She had a seemingly endless capacity for nurturing coupled with an amazing ability to erase the boundary between family and friends: strangers became friends, friends became family. Once embraced in her family fold, she never forgot a birthday, anniversary or family milestone. Her homes, however humble, were always a refuge to those who found her positive attitude and ability to listen without judgment her greatest gifts. She welcomed everyone to The Kleppe household that she filled with laughter, card games, food, hot coffee and kids.
Sivia was born in Braddock, North Dakota on November 10, 1935, the fifth child and only daughter of Virginia (Johnson) and Oscar Strom. She was raised in rural North Dakota attending local schools before attending and graduating at 16 years old from Oak Grove Lutheran High School in Fargo, ND in 1952. After high school, she received her teaching certificate from Valley City State Teacher’s College and taught country schools for a couple of years before marrying Kenneth Kleppe December 26, 1954. They settled into farm life on the Kleppe homestead where they started their family. They moved frequently between North Dakota and Seattle while Ken chased his dreams and demons. They divorced in 1971 and Sivia began working and raising her family as a single mother to her five kids. She conquered electronics in her first job as a teletype setter for the Kitsap County Herald and later built a successful career in various administrative management roles in Washington, Arizona and California. Sivia retired from Factory Mutual Engineering in 2002 (CA) She devoted the rest of her life to being a “gran-nanny” to her grandchildren, enjoying sharing in their daily lives as she travelled between the families. She passed her time reading, playing cards, doing crossword puzzles and staying in touch with folks – all electronically!
She is survived by her brother Lester Strom, her children: Wayne (Sandi), Sharon Grgich (Dan), Alan (Jean), Kurt (Wendy) and Jack; grandchildren Ryan (Erika), Chris Johnston (Anna), Tessa, Christopher Durfee, Michael Durfee, Kaia Grgich Kordic (Nikola), Nick Grgich, Karl, Hannah & Nathan. She became a great-grandmother to Levi Johnston the week before she passed. In addition to her parents, she is pre-deceased by her brothers and their wives: Nilo & Mayvis Strom, Walter & Bev Strom, Melvin & Marlys Strom, sister-in-law Arlene Strom and granddaughters Johanna Clarke & Emelie Durfee.
According to her wishes there will be no funeral although gatherings to celebrate her relationships will be held in Poulsbo, WA and Kintyre, ND where she will be buried at a later date.
Although Sivia will be tremendously missed, the connections she forged over a lifetime will always bind us together while her presence will be felt whenever we gather. We are comforted with the belief that her spirit will join our extensive family in heaven. One of her many ‘adopted’ kids said, “If there’s not a spot in Heaven for Sivia, then the rest of us sure don’t stand much of a chance.” Amen to that.
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