Edna Evelyn Drobnack



Ed & Edna

Edna Evelyn Drobnack (nee Hinsverk) was born to Albert and Sarah Hinsverk in Hendricks, Minnesota, on February 26, 1916, in the same room where her father was born. They spoke Norwegian at home and she only started learning English when in grade school. All of her siblings were born at home and delivered by her father.


She was raised in Bonetraill, North Dakota, and was the oldest girl of 12 children. She helped deliver the last 5 and helped raise them. Edna had to quit school in the 7th grade as her help was needed so much at home. They lived on a farm and then her parents opened the only store in Bonetraill.


When she was 19, neighbors of theirs asked if Edna would go west with them to help watch their 9 kids on their journey to Tacoma. Her parents said okay, but also said that they had to send her right back. However, it was during the Great Depression and the neighbors couldn’t afford the return train ticket, so Edna found some jobs in Tacoma. She spent 4 years with a doctor’s family, was treated wonderfully, and was able to finish high school. She became very active at a church and a friend there introduced her to Edward Drobnack. They were married for 66 years. He passed away in 2007. He was a civil-structural engineer for Seattle City Light and worked on many of the hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest.


They had 3 children, Edward, Gary, and then Gayle.  Sadly, Edward died while still an infant and before Gary and Gayle were born.


Edna stayed home and took care of the family. They were off camping and hiking almost every weekend as the kids grew up. She loved to take care of babies and volunteer at her church. She baked wonderful Norwegian lefse and cookies. She was a good mother and housekeeper.  Ed and Edna traveled quite a bit. She was very good at keeping in touch with people. Until her death, she was still in contact with friends and relatives from Norway and friends from Nepal, Sikkim, and Tibet.  A trip around the world was just one of their many journeys.


Edna was able to enjoy her 100th birthday earlier this year and passed away on Mercer Island, WA, just one day after Mother’s Day, on 9 May 2016.  She enjoyed being around people and shared her loving smile with everyone.


Edna is survived by her son and daughter, Gary Drobnack and Gayle Mattson, two of her twelve siblings, Dale Hinsverk and JoAnn Gronseth, two granddaughters, and four great grandchildren.  May she rest in peace.

4 Responses to “Edna Evelyn Drobnack”

  • Larry/Judy McClanahan says:

    What a beautifully unique and delightful lady. We got to spend time in their home when her precious grandaughter married our son…. She introduced us to history and sights around Seattle… The walk around the sound is what I loved..
    May Wonderful memories, with her sweet smile full your hearts as you say your goodbyes for now! We send our love and sympathy to the whole family.. Larry & Judy

  • Staff says:

    I had the privilege to assist and administer her medications. With her radiant smile everything is forgotten as she will swing or pinch us with her feebly little arms —that’s her way of not wanting to be disturbed. “Adai, adai, adai” we still don’t know what it means. But for sure it meant, “Thank you” in her good days and “Leave me alone” in her bad days. My turn to say, “Adai, adai, adai” and that means “until we meet again my friend. You are missed.”

  • Per Bjørn Foros says:

    In 1885, Enge Foros (sister of my grandfather) came to Minnesota from Norway. She married Carl Smith Johnson in 1886, and their daughter, Lisa was born in 1888. She married Albert Hinsverk, and they had 12 children together. Edna was number four, born 1916. As you understand, she was my second cousin.
    Edna and Ed visited Norway several times, and in 1972 I visited them in Seattle.
    Edna was a beautiful lady, a real human being, caring for others more than thinking of herself.
    Every year, in March, I arrange a song event, and by nidnight we always called Edna (and her sister Orvella) to sing old Norwegian songs to them. Now, they have both passed away.
    On behalf of the Foros familiy in Norway, I send these words in memory of Edna. May she rest in peace.
    Per Bjørn Foros

  • Ellen Boyd says:

    I enjoyed traveling with Edna. We went to Norway and to Romania together and had many adventures that were unforgettable. Always I was amazed at her great rapport with people. One comment that I heard often was that Edna was an “old soul.” There was a certain wisdom about her that made me believe that to be true. Of all my friends, Edna was the closest to my heart.

    Ellen Boyd June 2, 2016

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