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Arthur Karling "Swede" Bergstrom

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Arthur Karling "Swede" Bergstrom Obituary
Arthur Karling "Swede" Bergstrom Arthur Karling "Swede" Bergstrom died peacefully at home in Austin, Texas on July 24, 2013 at the age of 90. Born January 31, 1923 on the family farm off of Old Manor Road near Walnut Creek, he was the grandson of Swedish immigrants who settled in Austin in the 1870's. Art, also known as "A.K.", graduated from Austin High School in 1941, and with his transcript and $100 registration fee in hand, enrolled at the University of Texas. During those student years, he would rise at 3AM to deliver milk for his family dairy farm, changing clothes before class at his city cousin, Earl Bergstrom's house, for whom Bergstrom Field/ABIA is named. At UT he studied Architecture, was a member of the Cowboys, Glee Club, Opera Company, Hogg Debate, Goodfellows, Union Board, Naval ROTC and in 1943 was named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He left UT in 1944 to attend Submarine school in Groton, Connecticut and proudly served the United States Navy aboard the submarine USS Blackfish in the Pacific Theatre of WWII. He returned to UT after the war and received his BA in Business in 1948. In 1953, while working for Montgomery Ward as a store architect, he met a special stewardess on a Trans Texas Airlines flight to Corpus Christi- Mary Jane McConnico of Houston. After a 3-month, whirlwind courtship, they were married on June 20, 1953 and followed AK's job promotions to Indianapolis, St Louis, Chicago, Ft Worth and Midland, Texas. They made their home in Houston for 40 years where AK worked as a store architect for Southwestern Drug Corporation. His talent for designing family owned pharmacies with soda fountains was evident in many small towns across Texas until chain drugstores arrived. AK was a passionate lifelong fan of the Texas Longhorns, Houston Astros and Houston Oilers and a dedicated golf member of Inwood Forest Country Club. He spent many happy retirement years playing golf with his "Geritol Group," when his second car in the garage was a golf cart. AK and Mary Jane spent their post-retirement years back in Austin living happily in their home on the edge of the Hill Country close to their daughter and her family. AK was a beloved father, brother, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was an excellent cook, artist, and handyman among many other talents. He stayed mentally sharp with his daily crossword puzzle until he could no longer see well enough to execute them. His portable radio with headphones then became his link to the outside world for staying current on sports and news, and sharpening his excellent wit and sense of humor. He was often found regaling a herd of nurses and doctors in his tiny room with stories of old Austin during his frequent hospital stays this past year. While his body was 90, his spirit was that of a decades younger man. AK is preceded in death by his parents Arthur Simon and Hannah Karling Bergstrom. He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Mary Jane, his devoted "passel" of little sisters: Amaryllis Dunn, Virginia Thompson, Bonnie Smith and husband Tom, and Carolyn Boyd and husband Jim. Sister-in law Sara Clitheroe and husband Bill. He also is survived by his son Kirby Bergstrom and wife Kathy of Houston, daughter Anne Hunt and husband Jeff of Austin. Grandchildren Amy and Travis Scott, Ali and Louis Lang, Chris Hunt, Caroline Hunt, and great-grandson Henry Allen Scott. Cousin Rubert Cedar and wife Lillian, and numerous nieces and nephews also survive him. The family would like to thank Dr. Scott Clitheroe, Dr. Charles Jaynes, Dr. Kunjan Bhatt, Nurse Practioner Lou Mowad, New Century Hospice, and caregivers Barbara, Sarah, Alma and Rosie for their care and dedication in the last years of his life. A celebration of AK's life will be held at 11AM on Saturday, August 3, 2012 at the historic Decker United Methodist Swedish church, 8304 Decker Lane in Austin where he was confirmed, attended grade school, and as a small boy pumped the bellows of the pipe organ during Sunday Services. In typical Swedish fashion, a luncheon of AK's favorite comfort foods will follow in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to The Decker United Methodist Church Building and Cemetery Preservation fund in his memory. Condolences and rememberances may be sent to the family at annemariehunt@gmail.com

Published in Austin American-Statesman on July 28, 2013
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