Bernice Darlene Nelson was born December 23, 1934 in Wadena, MN, the daughter of Elmer and Alice (Chilberg) Nelson. She lived in Verndale, MN for eleven years before moving to Bertha, MN. After graduating from high school in Bertha, Bernie continued her education in the Twin Cities at Miller Hospital where she became a Licensed Practical Nurse. She began working as an LPN at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.
On January 3, 1959, Bernie was united in marriage to Jack Engdahl at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. The couple made their home in North East Minneapolis where they began raising a family; they were blessed with five children.
Bernie continued working at Children’s Hospital. After nearly forty years at the hospital Bernie retired in 1997. Following her retirement, she and Jack built a home near Lake Ida where they have lived for over twenty years.
Children and volunteering were two very important themes in Bernie’s life. She volunteered as a school nurse and was a dedicated volunteer for Special Olympics. Bernie enjoyed volunteering at the Hammer Residences where her daughter, Jean, lived. Bernie was also a Campfire Girls leader. Bernie served as the president of Swedish Institute Ladies’ Group and donated her time to Meals on Wheels. She also volunteered at Emmanuel Lutheran Church and later at Shalom Lutheran Church in Alexandria. She also gave her time to Augustana House and to Knute Nelson Home as a volunteer.
Bernie was proud of her Swedish heritage. She loved traveling with Jack and her brother and sister-in-law: They made trips to England, Scotland Wales, the Scandinavian countries and Russia. They traveled to Alaska and throughout the United States.
Bernie liked to read and go antique hunting. She watched and fed the birds at her home. Christmas was her favorite holiday. She loved preparing for Christmas, giving presents, and having her family all gather together. Bernie’s children and grandchildren were very important to her. She was a very involved mother and grandmother.
On Saturday, August 24, 2019, Bernie died at the age of eighty-four years. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Jean Engdahl. Bernie is survived by her husband, Jack Engdahl, of Alexandria; daughters, Jill Kelly and husband, Michael, of Eagan, MN, Julie Engdahl and partner, Anne Sebastian of Lancaster, PA; son John Engdahl and wife, Julie, of Lakeville, MN; and daughter Jodi Schott and husband, Phil, of Merrifield, MN; grandchildren, Braden Engdahl, Katie Kelly, Amber Fagan, Tate Engdahl, Erik Kelly, Kayla Engdahl, Rachel Kelly, Emily Engdahl, Parker Schott and Emma Schott; great grandchildren, Katarina Engdahl, Autumn Fagan and Ariel Fagan; and her brother, Larry Nelson and wife, Barb.
A funeral service will be held at 11:30 AM Saturday, August 31, 2019, at Shalom Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Ruth Blom will officiate. Visitation will be from 10 to 11:30 AM Saturday at church. Interment will be later in Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis. In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred.
Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory in Alexandria.
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