SPRINGFIELD - Vanja Gallagher Osby, 83, of Springfield, formerly of Sun City Center, Florida died at 9:01 a.m. on June 18, 2012.
Von was born in Kearny, New Jersey on September 16, 1928, to Agda and Fred Berntson. She graduated from Kearny High School in 1946 and worked as a secretary, but spent most of her life as a caring stay-at-home mother.
Preceded in death by her parents and brother, Bernt, Von is survived by her two daughters, Pam Gallagher Beatty (Tom) of Dayton, Ohio and Pat Gallagher (Rick Gosch) of Springfield; four grandchildren, Lauren Kawai (Yusaku) of Dayton, Ohio; Kaitlyn Gosch of Springfield; Sarah Beatty of Chicago; and Daniel Gosch of Greeley, Colorado; a great-granddaughter, Olivia Kawai of Dayton, Ohio; and a niece and nephew, Christine Berntson Morrell and Steve Berntson, both of Florida. She also leaves behind a host of lifelong friends from the many places she lived throughout her lifetime. Von was a champion of "making new friends, but keeping the old," never failing to send birthday, holiday or get well wishes across the miles.
Von's parents and brother emigrated to the U.S. from Sweden, and she was active in the Vasa Order of America as a member of Arlington Lodge. She passed along her Swedish culture to her family, teaching them many songs, dances, recipes and traditions that will be kept alive for generations to come.
Until recently, Von was a lively resident of Hickory Glen Senior Community, thoroughly enjoying the many activities provided there. For a while she filled the role of the "Sunshine Lady," in charge of making new residents feel at home, a perfect fit. Von was happiest taking care of others, and often found an opportunity to lend a hand at "the Glen."
Von loved music and dancing. She was a jitterbug champ at her high school, and could still dance the night away at her granddaughter's wedding six years ago. Von attended Laurel United Methodist Church where she enjoyed singing and listening to God's House Band. More than anything else, Von enjoyed spending time with her family. It was a wonderful blessing for her to be able to spend the last few years of her life in the Midwest, close to her family. Von was also blessed by a number of loving caregivers during the last months of her life.
VISITATION: 4:30-5:30 p.m. on June 21, 2012 at Laurel United Methodist Church. A celebration of Von's life will immediately follow.
Memorial contributions may be made to: LLCC Foundation in memory of Vanja Gallagher Osby, P.O. Box 19256, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9256. Staab Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.