She was the eighth of fourteen children, and the first in her family to graduate from high school.
Those were hard years on the prairie, and sons and daughters, at a young age, often found it necessary to leave home and make their separate ways in the world.
Finishing high school was an impressive accomplishment; Alvina was an excellent student and truly enjoyed her studies.
In 1941, Alvina married Jess Urban, of Epping, ND, and they moved to Kalispell, MT.
After a few years of living in rental homes, they scraped together enough money to build their own home, which they did with their own bare hands.
After several years of life in the “city”, and with a fourth child on the way, they felt that the healthiest environment in which to raise their family would be on a farm in the country.
They found a farm outside of Kalispell, and there they raised a happy family of seven children.
They worked long and hard to be sure that their children’s needs were met.
Jess and Alvina loved each other and their children deeply and truly, and their love was reflected in many ways, especially in the working of the land and in their providing for their seven children through good times and bad.
They set a perfect example for their children of what a good marriage should be, and of how a family should be spiritually and physically nurtured.
Their love for one another was reflected each day when Jess came in the door from a long day’s work, set his lunchbox down, then reached out and took Alvina in his arms and kissed her soundly.
Alvina loved the family and farming life and she worked diligently, devotedly, and lovingly inside and outside on the farm, from dawn til dusk, doing what needed to be done for her family.
Through financial panic and poverty, Alvina and Jess kept the strife hidden from their children somehow, and until they were adults the children did not realize how materially poor they had been; they were indeed rich in the important ways.
Alvina always planted a large garden, and spent most of her summer days tending the garden and then harvesting the bounty.
The harvesting involved canning and freezing a winter’s worth of fruits and vegetables, and in her children’s recollections it seemed to take all summer.
In addition to the gardening, Alvina raised chickens, then sold eggs and poultry to neighbors.
She and Jess provided the dairy products their family would need by raising dairy cattle, and they also raised beef and pork to provide meat for their family.
Late into the evening, Alvina might be found toiling at her sewing machine, making clothes for her children.
In later years, whenever one of the children would remark on how very hard their parents had worked to provide for their family, Alvina would say without hesitation, “I loved every minute of it.”
Theirs was a small farm, and not self-supporting, and the joke was that Jess worked outside jobs in order to support the farm.
But that farm was indeed the healthiest environment for the family, and each of their children grew up to be very grateful for that upbringing.
In the later years of her life, Alvina found new meaning by committing herself to her parish in Spokane, where she had moved after Jess’ death in 1981.
Through religious devotion and prayer, her earthly offering of her faith came down to the large and small duties she took on.
She lived in a small apartment on parish grounds, and quickly made herself indispensable - whether it was in mending torn garments, cooking for the seminarians, making Communion hosts, tending her tomatoes, or just providing a meeting place where friends could gather over coffee and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls.
For over 45 years, Alvina created at least one rosary each day, and most of these rosaries made their way to missions around the world.
On the year of her 90th birthday, she made herself useful by scraping the old paint from the window frames of the convent, in preparation for a major refurbishing.
It was through these activities that she connected most naturally with God, and with her calling, letting her inner light shine its brightest.
She enjoyed easy laughter, good humor, music, reading, and giving her efforts to causes she cherished.
It was in these ways that she communicated her bliss to the world, and in these ways she will be remembered by all her survivors.
She was “everyone’s mother”, and was loved by religious and lay people alike.
Alvina especially loved her grandchildren and then her great-grandchildren.
At the time of her passing, she had 22 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her granddaughter Deanna Rose Urban in 1968, her husband Jess in 1981, her daughter Pauline Urban in 2010, and eleven siblings.
Alvina had been especially close to her mama, Elizabeth, who passed in 1965; her father Frank died in 1966.
She is survived by her sons, Dennis Urban (Patsie) of Kalispell, Montana, and Rudy Urban (Debbie) of Bigfork, MT; her surviving daughters are Susan (Doug) Dumm of Boulder, CO, Sister Mary Bernadette (Janet Urban) of Boston, MA, Agnes (Jim) Anderson of Denver, CO, and Francie (Bernie) Radecki of Spokane, WA.
For the last two years of her life, Alvina was lovingly cared for by family and staff at Bella Angel, an Adult Family Home in Coeur d’alene, ID.
A Rosary will be held at Mount Saint Michael’s on Friday, August 2nd at 7:00PM followed by a Requiem Mass at Mount Saint Michael’s on Saturday, August 3rd at 10:00AM followed by interment at Holy Rosary Cemetery.
Her family wishes to express their boundless gratitude to Kim and Dirk Van Der Kolk, who treated her with as much care and love as they would their own mothers.
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