The funeral service for Gertrude Hegstad will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, May 31, 2013, at the Sand Hill Lutheran Church, rural Climax, Minnesota.

    Gertrude Hegstad, age 97, longtime Climax and Crookston resident, died peacefully Tuesday afternoon, May 28, 2013, at the Fair Meadow Nursing Home in Fertile, Minnesota.     

    Gertie, as she was affectionately known to her family and friends, was born to Martin and Thea (Olson) Nygaard on February 27, 1916 at Holt, Minnesota. She was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith and attended school in Holt. At the age of fifteen Gertie moved to East Grand Forks, Minnesota, where she was employed as a housekeeper and nanny, while also working for Valley Dairy. She later worked on farms in the Reynolds, North Dakota area, where she met Leonard Johnson. The two were united in marriage on November 1, 1937 in Fargo, and moved to rural Climax where they took jobs on the Ingeman Thoreson farm.

    In 1941 the couple purchased a nearby farm where they raised their four children: Faith, Truman, Patricia, and Lonnie. Life on the farm was very busy as they grew grain and row crops, kept a herd of Holsteins and a flock of chickens, and sold milk and eggs. Gertie also maintained a large garden where she grew most of the family’s vegetables and fruits. She was a very talented cook, baker and seamstress, and sewed most of her kids' clothing. The family loved picnics, going fishing, and spending time with friends and neighbors.  

    Gertie was active in the Farm Bureau, Golden Link Senior Center in Crookston, and was a member of the Red Hat Ladies. She was very proud of her Norwegian heritage and could not only read and write in Norwegian, but spoke perfect Norsk. She was a devoted member of the Sand Hill Lutheran Church; took part in the Ladies Aid and also taught Sunday school.

    Sadly, Leonard passed away in November of 1971. Gertie sold the farmstead in 1973 and moved to a new home in Crookston. She worked at Jiffy Fry, and later for the Villa St. Vincent.

    On September 26, 1976 she married Bjarne Hegstad at the Concordia Lutheran Church in Fertile. From this marriage Gertie gained a step-son and three step-daughters, and many more grandchildren. She and Bjarne enjoyed taking bus trips, dancing, bowling, going to the Golden Link, family parties, and attending each other’s churches and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Crookston. She took up the hobby of painting late in life, and her talent earned her many ribbons and awards at the Polk County Fair. She also received several awards for her crocheting and embroidery work. Bjarne passed away in November of 2000. Gertie continued to live in her home until December of 2009 when she moved to Fair Meadow in Fertile. She devoted her life to her family, and nurtured them all with kindness, respect, and a strong sense of faith. Gertie will be dearly missed by all who were part of her life.  

    Loving family include her 4 children: Faith (Joe) Berg of Fertile, MN, Truman (Catharine) Johnson of Cedar Rapids, IA, Patricia (Russell) Hannu of Springfield, MO, and Lonnie (Cheryl) Johnson of Litchfield, MN; 10 grandchildren: Dean (Ruby) Berg, Deanna (Jim) Sinclair, Dawn Berg (Mike Duncan), Nicole (Cody) Smith, Kyrsten Johnson (Bryan Backer), Trever (Helen) Johnson, Lanny (Lynda) Lord, Troy (Laura) Lord, Jason Johnson, and Sarah (Tim) Schulte; 18 great-grandchildren; and 2 great-great grandchildren. She also leaves 3 step-children: Joe (Jackie) Hegstad of Scottsdale, AZ, Carol Domier of Portland, ND, and Ardis (Don) Zimney of West Fargo, ND; a step-son-in-law, Dale Enger of Portland, ND; and many step-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other relatives. In addition to her husbands, Leonard and Bjarne, she was preceded in death by her parents; a grandson, Daryl Berg; step-daughter, Brenda Enger; step-son-in-law, Wayne Domier; and 8 siblings: Anna, Aagot, Ole, Martha, Theodore, Margaret, Clara, and her twin sister, Gladys. May God richly bless the memory of Gertrude Hegstad.     

    The funeral service for Gertrude Hegstad will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, May 31, 2013, at the Sand Hill Lutheran Church, rural Climax, Minnesota, with The Rev. Joy Grainger, officiating. Visitation will be at the church for one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow in the Sand Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be given in Gertrude’s name to the Sand Hill Lutheran Church.

    Online registry for friends and family is available at