Gertrude Kersten

Gertrude (Holmgren) Kersten, 93, of Baldwin, WI, died Monday, August 22, 2011 at the Baldwin Care Center in Baldwin, WI. Gertrude was born September 25, 1917, in Minneapolis, MN, to Gustav and Ellen (Johnson) Holmgren who were immigrants from Vasterbotten and Varmland, Sweden, respectively.  She grew up in a Swedish neighborhood in Minneapolis and spoke mainly Swedish until she entered public school.  She spent her growing-up years in Minneapolis and graduated from Central High School.  During those years she was very active in sports��”bicycling, swimming, tennis, and ice skating.  After high school graduation, she worked at Woolworth’s in downtown Minneapolis until she married.

Gertrude met Bernard at a Valentine’s Day dance and soon thereafter fell in love.  They married on June 26, 1938, and moved to a small farm in Ramsey County, MN.  They and their five children lived there until 1953 when they bought a dairy, pig, and beef cattle farm in St. Croix County, WI.  After a number of years the pigs were sold and they became dairy farmers. The “city” girl adapted well to farming.  Free time was spent going fishing, playing cards with their many neighbors, attending dances, and active in church activities.  Gertrude and Bernard travelled throughout the US, Hawaii and Europe.

Gertrude was a member of Peace Lutheran Church and active in the ladies’ circles.  She was also active in the Hillcrest Homemakers Club and received recognition for being a member for fifty years.  She enjoyed gardening��”both vegetables and flowers.  She did a lot of canning, cooking, and baking.  Gertrude was an excellent seamstress and made most of the clothes for her four daughters as they were growing up.  She also loved to decorate cakes, crochet, and knit and became well-known for these abilities.  One of her largest crochet projects was a crocheted picture of the Lord’s Supper, which was donated to Peace Lutheran Church and is hanging in the church’s dining area.

Gert moved into the Birchwood Apartments in 2000 when Bernard was a resident in the Baldwin Care Center.  She enjoyed people and made friends easily and enjoyed playing table games with her friends and family.  She also enjoyed reading, doing crossword puzzles and word search. A few years later she moved into the Baldwin Care Center and continued with her crafts, reading, and playing Bingo.

She will be remembered for her smile, kindness, and giving heart.  The family is very grateful to the many friends, residents and staff at the Baldwin Care Center and Birchwood Apartments who gave their friendship and care.

Gertrude is survived by her children: Joyce (Gordon) Waller of Augusta, WI, Charles (Linda) Kersten of Hudson, WI, Bernice Van Dien of Baldwin, WI, June (Larry) Ness of Hammond, WI, Carol (Willy) Zevenbergen of Baldwin, WI, 13 grandchildren: Cynthia White of Eau Claire, WI, Lisa (Dano) Lukitsch of Cottage Grove, MN, Kelly (Bill) Benning of Lakeville, MN, Todd (Leanne) of Somerset, WI, David (Suzanne) Van Dien of Norwood Young America, MN, Deborah (Larry) Morse of Mendota Heights, MN, Timothy Hakala of Hammond, WI, Tina Hakala of Minneapolis, MN, Tracy Hakala of Minneapolis, MN, Jason (Andrea) Zevenbergen of Fredonia, NY, Heidi (Mark) Eliason of Emerald, WI, Naomi Zevenbergen of Baldwin, WI, Rochel (James) Karlson of Baldwin, WI, 22 Great grandchildren:Kristof White, Andreas White, Jon Erik White, Megan Lukitsch, Mark Lukitsch, Kersten Benning, Sydney Benning, Anna Mae Van Dien, Allen Van Dien, Abby Van Dien, David Isaac Morse, Matthew Morse, Veronica Morse, Dawson Williams, Tristan Juel, Ellie Ness, Matthew Zevenbergen, Cody Leehe, Caileea Leehe, Myah Eliason, Makayla Gooselaw, Madalyn Gooselaw, Step-grandchildren/great grandchildren:  Randy, Tracy and Lonnie Ness, their spouses, and children. Gertrude is further survived by brother-in-law Gene Kersten and sister-in-law Leona Kersten, and many nieces, nephews, and their extended families.

Gertrude was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Bernard, sister Vivian, brother Vern, son-in-law Eugene Van Dien, grandson Craig Waller, great-grandson Corbin Williams, and step-grandchildren Terry and Penny Ness.

Visitation will be held Thursday, Aug. 25, 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 1010 Newton St., Baldwin, WI.   Funeral services will be held at Peace Lutheran Church, 2084 Cty Rd. N, Baldwin, WI, on Friday, Aug. 26, at 11:00 a.m. with visitation one hour before the service.  Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Park in Minneapolis, MN. Memorials preferred.


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