Barbara Lusk Abrahamson died on April 1 at the age of 92. Born in Jamestown, North Dakota, she was one of four Lusk sisters in a very close-knit family. “Mother and Daddy” and the girls attended First Congregational Church each week in Fargo, ND. Barbara had a long and close association with the United Church of Christ, attending Andover Newton Theological School and becoming ordained as a minister. As part of her ministry, she spent one summer working with the religious leaders at the Fort Berthold Indian Mission in Elbowoods, ND.
Barbara began to play the cello in junior high school. When she graduated from Fargo High, she continued her cello studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in music. She married John Preston in 1950 and began her family in Lakota, ND. While raising four lively children, she directed the church choir and the Nelson County Chorus. The family moved to Grand Forks, ND, in 1960 where Barbara immediately became active in the Federated Church as the Sunday School Superintendent and the choir director. She also joined the Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra where she served as principal cellist for many years.
Once her children were all in school, she went back to school at the University of North Dakota. There she played in a number of ensembles and earned her Bachelor of Science in Education. She developed a passion for teaching as she built a strong string program at South Junior High School and the surrounding elementary schools.
Her love of music extended to her children who followed in her footsteps. Barbara’s other passion was restoring and remodeling houses. She loved to envision what a house could be, no matter how much in disrepair. She enjoyed peeling back layers of wallpaper, putting up sheetrock, and painting walls in very bold colors. Her crowning achievement was a historical house in Little Falls, MN, where she lived with her second husband, Arleigh Abrahamson, and enjoyed wonderful visits with her grandchildren.
When Arleigh passed away, she moved to Maine to be near her daughters. There she established her home studio in Damariscotta Mills where, for ten years, she taught violin and cello lessons by the Suzuki Method. Though she loved her Maine experience, the “girl from the prairie” returned to be near her sons, and lived in St. Cloud, MN, for a number of years. Life circumstances brought her back to Maine in 2015 where she spent some wonderful time with her East Coast family and ultimately with the terrific folks at Cove’s Edge Long Term Care in Damariscotta.
She was predeceased by husband, Arleigh Abrahamson; parents, Doris and Charles Claud Lusk; and sisters, Gladys Danies and Mary Wangerin.
She is survived by sister, Dora Case of Bloomington, MN; son, Daniel Preston of St. Cloud, MN; daughter, Beth Preston and husband John Strong of Nobleboro, ME; daughter, Carol Preston of Damariscotta, ME; and son, Joel Preston and wife Judy Preston of Richfield, MN. She also had five grandchildren, Adrian Preston, Emily Strugnell, Thomas (T.J.) Preston, Angela Staats, and Tracy Preston,;and one great-granddaughter, Jane Strugnell.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the New England Suzuki Institute’s scholarship fund for youngsters attending its summer music camp. Write Scholarships/Abrahamson in the memo line: PO Box 11593, Portland ME 04104.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com
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