LACONIA - Gudrun Gerna Magnusson of Gilford, passed away peacefully at Lakes Region General Hospital, surrounded by family and friends, on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.
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Gerna, the daughter of Icelandic parents, Magnus G. and Maria (Olafsdottir) Magnusson, was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her family moved to Winchester, Mass., and summered at Lake Shore Park, Gilford, where Gerna later settled.
She was a graduate of Winchester, Mass., High School in 1944, received a degree in physical education from Sargent College, Boston University, in 1948; a degree in elementary education from Plymouth State College in 1954; and a master's degree in education from Boston University in 1978.
From 1955 to 2012, Gerna served in a multitude of leadership roles within the Delta Kappa Gamma International Honorary Women Teachers Society including president of the Beta Chapter and Beta Alpha State as well as in numerous positions within the Theta Chapter. Delta Kappa Gamma is an international society of key women teachers whose purpose is to endow scholarships and promote professional growth for women educators. A fellow Delta Kappa Gamma member described her as, "a loyal, hard-working member at all levels of Delta Kappa Gamma
who knows, understands, supports and defends the purposes and ideals of our organization and is always ready to help wherever she sees a need."
Gerna began her teaching career in Hanover as a physical education instructor, K-12, and as the girls' athletic coach for all sports from 1948-1953. A close colleague of hers said that, "Gerna was not simply a coach, but a dedicated, caring leader for her teams, spending may extra hours giving guidance and support to her girls." In 1953, Gerna moved to Laconia where she taught grades 3 and 4 at Harvard Street, grade 5 at Pleasant Street School, and finished her career at Elm Street School. She retired in June of 1985 after 38 years of teaching. During her career, Gerna received commendations for participation in advanced studies in reading at Boston University in 1975 as well as a mathematics workshop at Plymouth State College in 1961.
Gerna was very involved in her community. At Lake Shore Park, she had served on the board of directors for several years and was also in charge of the recreation program for both adults and children. One of her favorite programs was the "Christmas in September" event that included a visit from Santa Claus and gifts for the children who summered there. Over the years, she had been in charge of maintenance, care and reservations and operated the park's general store. Gerna also served on the town of Gilford's budget committee and the State Retirement Board. In 1986, she became a certified real estate salesperson and had been active in Reed Elwell Realty since then.
Gerna is survived by her adopted daughter, Leslie Magnusson, of Phoenix, Ariz., and two great nephews, Matthew and Dylan. She was predeceased by her parents, a sister, Gudridur "Berta" Magnusson, and a nephew, John Alexander.
SERVICES: There will be no calling hours. A celebration of her life will be held later in the spring.
To recognize Gerna's lifelong love for and commitment to animals, the family suggests that contributions in her memory be made to the New Hampshire Humane Society, P.O. Box 572, Laconia, 03247.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, is assisting the family with the arrangements.
For more information and to view an online memorial go to www.wilkinsonbeane.com.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home
164 Pleasant Street
Laconia, NH 03246
Published in Union Leader on Jan. 24, 2013