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Lind: Wife gets sympathy letter for husband who wasn't dead

One day in 1983, Pearl Nissen received a sympathy letter because of the death of her husband, Ira. It was a nice gesture, except for one thing: Ira hadn't died. In fact, today he's living in Salem, Ore., from where he sent in his story. Ira is fr...

Bob Lind

One day in 1983, Pearl Nissen received a sympathy letter because of the death of her husband, Ira.

It was a nice gesture, except for one thing: Ira hadn't died.

In fact, today he's living in Salem, Ore., from where he sent in his story.

Ira is from the long-gone Van Hook, N.D. But in 1983 he was walking on the campus of Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif., where he was a visiting professor, when he had a heart attack.

But "God seemed to have it all under control," Ira says, "because two Native American girls who were students in the nursing school there were able to get me breathing again and obtain an ambulance."

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Ira wound up having surgery in a Portland, Ore., hospital.

"The prayers of the sisters (in the Catholic hospital) and the hymns over the loudspeaker system were blessings that we just do not experience in our corporate-owned hospitals today," Ira writes.

Then one day he was having considerable pain, so he called Pearl, who had a guest room in the hospital. Pearl quoted Psalm 46:1 - "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" - and prayed with him. And soon he was just fine.

Some time later Ira was in San Francisco where, he says, "Several of my friends looked at me in surprise and made comments to the effect that they had not expected to see me."

Ira, now 92, adds this: "There is a headstone (in a Portland cemetery) with my name on it, and it has been waiting for me for 18 years."

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com

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