Obituary for Oda Helene Nielsen Lassen (Written By Gayle Sargent Lassen, Daughter-in-law)
Oda Helene Nielsen Lassen slipped peacefully from this life to join her husband on January 8, 2013 with her loved ones at her side.
She was born August 20, 1918 in Aalborg Denmark.
Her father, Thomas, was a seaman and was away at sea when she was born and did not see her until she was 8 months old. She graduated from school, where she was an excellent student. She was proud to say that her lowest grade was an A-. She then worked in a textile factory. Oda always knew and trusted her own mind. When her future husband, Hilmar, saw her at a dance for the first time she was only 15. She thought he was too old for her (he was a worldly seaman of 19) and when he asked if he could walk her home, she said yes but then went to the ladies room and then slipped out the back way and went home without him. Despite the brush-off, he knew she was the girl for him, and a few years later he made sure that they met again. They married on April 15, 1939.
Hilmar and Oda worked together in various businesses as they began their family. Three daughters (Birthe, Ida, and Doris) and a son (John) were born to them in Denmark, where Hilmar worked at the shipping docks, they had a small dairy and grocery store, and later had a business making canvas tarps.
When the German army occupied Denmark in World War II, Hilmar and Oda had their small dairy and grocery store. They were part of the Danish Resistance (the Underground) and Oda stuffed anti-Nazi fliers into the grocery bags of sympathetic customers. Oda remembered the shortages and rationing of the war, and was always frugal with water or food. She especially missed fruit, and said that
she only had one orange during the war.
In 1948 the Lassen family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and then three years later immigrated to the United States. After a brief stop in Salt Lake City, the family moved to Southern California, where Hilmar became a brick and stonemason. They lived in San Fernando. In 1954 they traveled to Utah to be sealed together as an eternal family in the St. George Temple.
The Lassen family welcomed three more children to their family in America—Anna, Peter, and James. The family became American citizens in 1960. In 1964 they moved to Camarillo and in 1971 they opened the first Lassen’s Health Food Store on Pickwick Drive. Oda had been working at a health food store, and did not think the owner was a very good businessman. She thought that she could do a better job, and so she opened her tiny store. She took to this business with an able and friendly hand. Many people would come into the store and only be satisfied if Oda helped them. For many years after her retirement people continued to ask about her. This family business has grown to 11 stores.
Hilmar and Oda served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to their native Denmark in 1982-1983, where they served in many leadership positions, as well as helped many people. After returning home, they sold their two stores to their children, but got bored with retirement. They opened another store in Simi Valley and operated it for several years before selling it to their children.
Oda was an amazing mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She loved all of them and wanted to be with them. She would often call her daughters or daughters-in-law to say that they needed a day off, and then she would come get the children and they’d go on an adventure to the park, or to get a hot dog, or just for a walk. She loved to have her car full of grandchildren. As she got older, “Bedstemor time” was filled with Shirley Temple or Crocodile Dundee movies and making cookies, popcorn, or the favorite, sugar sandwiches.
Oda always had a charming and quick wit. Once
a grandson was being sassy and blamed her, saying that he “got it from” her. She shot back, “You couldn’t have gotten it from me. I’ve still got it!” And she did.
Oda is survived by seven children and their spouses, Birthe (Bob) Shadle of Massillon, Ohio; Ida (Boyd) Chugg of Rupert, Idaho; Doris (Clarke) Nielsen of Camarillo; John (Debi) Lassen of Camarillo; Anna (Craig) Flanagan of Las Vegas, Nevada; Peter (Gayle) Lassen of Camarillo; and James (Susan) Lassen of O’Fallon, Missouri. She also leaves behind 28 grandchildren, and 46 great-grandchildren.
Her husband of 73 ½ years, preceded her in death, passing away only 8 weeks ago. Two grandchildren, David Shadle and Jadalyn Flanagan proceeded her in death. We will all miss you, Bedstemor.
We especially want to thank CherryRose, Diana, Nariza and all of the wonderful helpers at Visiting Angels, and Teri, Amy and all of the loving staff of
Livingston Memorial Hospice. How well you have guided us through this journey.
A viewing will be held on Saturday, January12, 2013 from 9:30-10:40 at the Las Posas Building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 4345 Los Posas Blvd, Camarillo CA.
Funeral Services will be held at the same location immediately following on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:00.
Arrangements through Griffin Brothers Mortuary.