In Memory of Stanley Bergum
After suffering a severe brain bleed on Monday, April 18th, ninety-one-year-old Stanley Nelmer Bergum died at his home in Rice Lake on Thursday, April 21, 2022.
Thanks to the wonderful care of doctors, nurses, EMTs, and aides, Stan was able to spend his last days at home, the home he built and was so proud of, surrounded by loving family members and friends, who were very glad to have a little extra time to say goodbye to him. He always said, “I want to die right here, in my house.”
Stanley, the oldest son of Nelmer and Selma Bergum, was born on November 19th, 1930, on the family farm north of Wheeler, Wisconsin.
As young boys, Stan and his younger brother Kon spent many hours at the home of their grandparents, Knute and Sarah Bergum, who lived just over the hill. Stanley was an Otter Creek boy who fondly remembered spending summers with his Bergum and Fortney cousins, celebrating holidays with his extended family, helping with milking and farm chores, attending Hay River Lutheran Church, and taking summer baths with neighborhood buddies in the nearby Hay River swimming hole. He attended grades one through eight at Clover Valley School, just one mile from his home. Following his Clover Valley years, he attended Colfax High School, where he graduated as a proud Viking in the Class of 1949. After graduation, he spent a year working on his Uncle Martin’s farm. In the fall of 1951, Stan was drafted and spent four years in the United States Air Force. With encouragement from his parents and his Uncle Ted, he then attended River Falls and Stout State Colleges
On January 5, 1954, Stan and Donna Mae Christopherson were married at Pine Creek Lutheran Church near Ridgeland. Together, they raised three children; Lynn, Scott, and Kent. After a year of working for the J.I. Case Company in Racine, Wisconsin, the Bergum family moved to Rice Lake in the fall of 1960, where Stan was hired as a high school ag/industrial arts teacher. After 34 years of marriage and mothering, Donna died, battling breast/brain cancer in October of 1988. On January 1, 1990, Stanley married Norma Jean Abrahamson in the living room of their home at 230 Washington Avenue in Rice Lake. With his marriage to Norma, the size of his family increased with the addition of her four children: Linda, Mark, Jill, and Lori. His lovely Norma was their travel manager; they enjoyed many years traveling on their own, with family members, and on numerous Homespun Tours. With grown children living in all regions of the country and with the help of their GPS, they logged many highway miles. In 2015, Stan and Norma celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with family members and friends.
Over the years, one of Stan’s greatest joys was spending time with and watching his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren grow–he was always interested in their projects, activities, joys, and frustrations. He was a fixer wherever he went, always seeming to have the part he needed or knowing where to find it. No one enjoyed visiting with people more than Stan! He was proud of his fleet of boats and was always listening to motors to see if they needed a tune-up. He was so very blessed to have two wonderful and loving wives during his lifetime! Stan always felt that Rice Lake had been good to him; he had a wonderful place to work and raise his family and an excellent place to retire after 33 years of teaching. No friends or family members visited Rice Lake without experiencing The Stanley Tour of Rice Lake; and, oh, was he proud of the new roundabouts on Highway 48! Volunteering was very important throughout Stan’s life. He was an involved member at Bethany Lutheran Church for 62 years and an active charter member of the Rice Lake Lions Club for over 50 years. As a Golden K member, he spent hours planting petunias with his Golden K buddies; he was especially proud when the large petunia urns were purchased and placed around the city. Most recently, his pet project was volunteering at the National Lumbering Hall of Fame Park, which is located just south of the Main Street Bridge in Rice Lake. He, Stan Buchannan, and other volunteers worked tirelessly to disassemble and rebuild an old log cabin that now stands in the park.
Over the years Stan served as a Boy Scout leader and Sunday School teacher, delivered Meals on Wheels, and belonged to the Rice Lake American Legion, Dovre Lodge of the Sons of Norway, and Rice Lake Elks Club. He served on the Rice Lake Park Board for 21 years, 9 years on the Barron County Fair Board, and 10 years on the Barron County Board of Supervisors.
A Celebration of Stan’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26th, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Rice Lake, with visitation at Bethany from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 25th, and from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 26th. Burial will follow at the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery, just south of Spooner.
Appleyard’s Home for Funerals in Rice Lake, WI is assisting the family with arrangements.
Stan was preceded in death by his parents, Nelmer and Selma; his wife Donna; his brother-in-laws Delano Rowland, Ben Hirte, HarlanChristopherson and Donald Christopherson; his sister-in-laws Pat Rowland, Kathryn Hirte, Adeline Christopherson, Shirley Christopherson, and Jean Bergum; his grandchildren Noa Bergum and Andrew Archuleta; and his great-grandson, Will Kolpack.
He is survived by his wife, Norma Jean; his children Lynn (Keith) Kolpack, Scott (Shari) Bergum, Kent (Kelly) Bergum, Linda Archuleta, Mark (Lynda) Abrahamson, Jill (Carl) Hilber, and Lori Doring; his grandchildren Matt (Sara), Pete (Lindsey), and Sara Anne Kolpack; Ehren (Janna) and Daniel (Traci) Richardson; Jack, Kate, and Molly Bergum; David (Anh) and Molly Hilber; Sara and Tara (Jeremy) Archuleta; Elizabeth and Emily Doring; his great-grandchildren Jacob Juarez; Sean Miller and Jaxon Frazier; Kaden and Brody Kolpack; Joanna, Seus, and Heath Richardson; Amelia Richardson; Hattie and Harlan Kolpack; his brother Konval Bergum; his sister-in-law Shirley (Dennis) Borndale; his good friend and right-hand man, Brian Honetor; and many special nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Bethany Lutheran Church, Rice Lake Golden K, or the National Lumbering Hall of Fame (NLHF) would be much appreciated. NLHF memorial monies will serve as seed money for building a picnic shelter at the NLHF Park, where Stanley worked to plant trees, procure funding for fishing piers, and disassemble and reassemble an 1850s log cabin with the help of NLHF Park volunteers and family members. Take a walk through NLHF’s “Stanley Park”--you’ll surely feel his smiling spirit there.
Stanley was a gift to us all; he was well-loved and will be dearly missed! We’re sure he’s hoping to join the Heavenly Park Board soon, and he’s definitely making plans for the 2022 Heavenly Petunia Project!