St Andrew's Lutheran Church
2650 148th Ave SE
Bellevue, WA 98007
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Bernice (Jensen) Bragstad

1919 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Bernice (Jensen) Bragstad Obituary
Bernice (Jensen) Bragstad

Aug. 23, 1919 - Feb. 27, 2016

SEATTLE - M. Bernice (Jensen) Bragstad, 96, passed away in her sleep while her husband, Glenn, held her hand. She was born to Joseph C. and Hannah (Johnson) Jensen in Parker, SD. She loved to learn. She studied at Augustana College in South Dakota, the University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Master's degree), and Oxford University in England. While attending Augustana, she was a soloist in the Augustana choir, and a member of the debate team where she met her future husband, Glenn Bragstad.

Bernice and Glenn were married on June 2, 1944 and had 71 years together which they lived to the fullest. They raised five children and passed on to them their deep faith, the love of learning, of family, and of nature. They built a cabin on Fish Trap Lake in central Minnesota where their family spent a month every summer. They canoed the Canadian Boundary Waters with their children. In later years, they explored Europe, Russia, China, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand and Fiji. And they traveled to Norway and Denmark to visit relatives. Bernice enjoyed weaving, and creating handmade Norwegian Rya wall hangings. Her family and lucky church picnic goers will always remember her incredible pies with the flakey crusts. Her love, smile and determination will always be in our hearts.

An inspiring teacher, Bernice taught at Homewood Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor, IL, and at West High School and LaFollette High School, Madison, WI. As a Reading Consultant at LaFollette High School, she pioneered a total school reading program which included a 15-minute reading break when everyone in the school enjoyed leisure reading. As a result, the reading scores in the district started to climb. This program was adopted throughout the city, then some of the state and eventually it became a model for schools across the country. Later she designed reading courses for college-bound students, and created a summer program where high school students tutored school children.

In 1983, Bernice received the Nila Banton Smith Award, the most prestigious award given by the International Reading Association. She co-authored "A Guidebook for Teaching Study Skills and Motivation" with her dear friend and colleague, Sharyn Stumpf. Bernice conducted seminars for high school teachers and administrators in 25 states. In 1986, she received the Augustana Alumni Award.

Bernice is survived by her loving husband, Rev. Glenn Bragstad; their children, Susan Dann, Paul (Anne Knuut), Richard, Tricia (John) Donhowe, and Mary (Cliff) Zenor; grandchildren, Kristoffer (Caitlin), Karin (Andrew LaFlamme) and Erik Donhowe, Jonathan (Stephanie) Dann, Elise (Mike) Dame, Hannah and Marissa Bragstad; great-grandchildren, Mathias and Risa Donhowe, and Easton Dame; a brother, Duane Jensen; sister-in-laws, Betty and Faye Jensen, and Jeanette McConnell. She is preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Gladys Kier, Esther Sidlo; brothers, Julian and Carroll Jensen; a grandson, Nathan Dann; and son-in-law, Fred Dann.

A memorial service will be held on March 12th at 4 pm in St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, 2650 148th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98007. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate if you would share your memories of her and Glenn. Email to: [email protected] or mail to: Bragstads, 14232 64th Ave. W, Edmonds, WA 98026. To sign a guestbook, go to In Bernice's honor, pick up a good book and read.
Published in The Argus Leader on Mar. 6, 2016
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