Skip to content

Mrs. Martha H. Bergan, 94

Mrs. Martha H. Bergan, 94, resident of Saint Paul since 1997, died November 27 as the result of a stroke she suffered earlier that day at Saint Anthony Park Home.
   Martha was born November 26, 1918, in Britt, Iowa, to Dr. and Mrs. Francis E. Heacox.
   After graduating from high school, Martha attended two years of junior college in Britt, Iowa. From there she moved to St Paul to attend the University of Minnesota where she majored in Home Economics Education. It was at the University where she met her future husband, Glen. They met at a “Y” dancing class. Martha states that she was brought up a strict Methodist and didn’t know how to dance so they learned how to dance to records. Allegedly, according to her mother, a strict Methodist practices the six don’ts: don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t cuss, don’t dance, don’t play cards, and “don’t hang around with them what do.” Mother did well at the first three “don’ts,” but she and Dad danced beautifully, they played cards in the winter, and they enjoyed associating with friends and neighbors.
   Martha and Glen were married January 22, 1944, at her family home in Britt, Iowa, following Glen’s graduation from the University of Minnesota and Naval Officer Training at Notre Dame. Glen left shortly after their wedding to serve 22 months in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
   After the war they settled in Williams, Minnesota. Glen farmed and taught Vocational Agriculture, while Martha raised four children and taught Home Economics for 19 years in Williams and Baudette. She taught grades 7 through 12, and had a positive impact on many young women from the area. Mother commented that junior high school girls were particularly challenging. To quote her, “The only reason I put up with you (7th and 8th grade girls) is that by the time you get to be seniors most of you will turn out to be pretty good people.”
   Martha was a member of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Williams, where she played the piano and organ, and the electronic bells on Sunday morning, a gift to the church from her father-in-law, Martin Bergan.
   Martha was a terrific Scrabble player and her children could seldom best her in a game.
   Martha and Glen both retired from teaching in 1978, cared for Martha’s mother in Iowa in 1979, moved to Cornucopia, WI in 1986, and then began spending winters in Arizona. After suffering a brain aneurysm in 1997, Martha was confined to the nursing home in St. Paul for the next fifteen years.
   She is survived by sons David (Pam) of Paradise, California and John (Julie) of Portage, Wisconsin; daughters Martha (Richard) Rhode of Saint Paul and Mary Benson (Peter) of Alpena, Michigan; eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
   She was predeceased by her husband Glen, parents, brothers Edwin and Maynard, a daughter-in-law, Marilyn Pettis Bergan, and a great-grand-daughter, Emma Bergan.

Leave a Comment