Robert A. Bergstrom

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Bergstrom, Robert A.
Our Dad, Robert ("Bob") A. Bergstrom, 92, died peacefully in his sleep on December 16, 2012, in Phoenix, AZ. To the very end, he was a generous and kind man whose primary concern was the well being of others. We will miss him. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Eunice Louise Bergstrom and their seven children: Kristin (Lloyd Dickinson), Milwaukee, WI; Ann (Larry Haines), Pittsburgh, PA; Robert (Julia), U.S. Virgin Islands; Karen (Raymond Randall), Centreville, VA; Charles (Diane Hoover), Seattle, WA; David, St. Paul, MN; Ellen (James Nemetz), Phoenix, AZ. Eunice and their children were with him in the last days and hours. Dad was the proud grandfather of Jan Scislowicz, Betsy and Michael Haines, Lukas and Katrina Bergstrom, Lauren and Raymond Randall, Britt and Jake Nemetz, and Bobby and Will Bergstrom. In addition to their children, Dad and Mom were American Field Service host parents for Froydis Jaren of Norway and Tim Wilson of Australia. They provided a home to Vietnamese refugee family members Nguyen Duong, Thuan Duong, and Hung Luong. Born in Estherville, Iowa, in 1920, Bob grew up in Des Moines. He was the third son of Charles and Stella Bergstrom, and the last to pass on of their ten children. He graduated early from high school and went on to earn a degree in economics from the University of Iowa in 1943. He married his childhood sweetheart, Eunice Irwin, the week before he reported for wartime duty with the US Army. He served until the war ended, ultimately as an officer in the Aleutian Islands. Dad was a city boy who worked on his Aunt Ina and Uncle Ed Herke's farm near Emmetsburg during summers. After the war, he decided he wanted to be a farmer himself; he and Mom started farming on the Herke's farm, and later farmed near Ringsted, Iowa. They eventually bought a dairy farm outside of Chatfield, MN. Dad could do anything--weld, fix equipment, build fences, roof buildings, and everything else necessary to run a farm. He also worked as a surveyor, was president of the PTA, and served as an elder at the Chatfield Pioneer Presbyterian Church (he liked to sing in the choir and to sing in general). He read voraciously and imparted his love of reading to his children. We grew up in a house full of books, in part because as country schools were consolidated, Dad bought the schools' entire libraries. When he sold the cows (not an unwelcome event--he said selling the dairy herd was like getting out of jail), our parents moved into Chatfield, where he worked for Northern Natural Gas. In retirement, Dad was a passionate tennis player, took piano lessons (not successfully), made jewelry (very successfully) and was totally engaged with friends and the life about him. Mom and Dad traveled extensively after their retirement, including to Australia and New Zealand, through northern and Mediterranean Europe, and by tramp steamer through Central America--they were the oldest passengers. They wintered in Mesa, Arizona and summered in Mormon Lake, Arizona. For the last few years they have lived in Glendale, AZ. Bob was loving and much beloved. His clear and pragmatic view of the world and his active sense of humor will be deeply missed and long remembered by those privileged to know him. His was a life well lived. At Dad's request, no funeral will be held. A memorial service will held at a later date. Eunice Bergstrom and the Bergstrom Children.



Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 23, 2012
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