Bernis Ione (Flatjord) Geving, 89, was born on March 7, 1934, on her parents’ farm in rural Iowa (north of Jerico) and passed away in her home in McGregor, Minnesota on March 23rd, 2023 with her girls by her side.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Geving, her parents, Hannah and Olaf Flatjord, and her three brothers, Harold, Neil, and Raymond Flatjord. Coming from a large family, she is also preceded in death by many brothers- and sisters-in-law.
She is survived by her daughters, Greta Kulju, Ronda Simmons, and Rana Geving along with her sons-in-law Eric Kulju and Scott Simmons, her grandchildren Jacob Kulju, Jennifer Prozinski, Emma Simmons, and Thomas Simmons, and her great grandchildren Tristan Prozinski, Zane Prozinski, Adeline Prozinski, Harvey Kulju, Calliope Prozinski, and Signe Kulju. She also has over 100 nieces and nephews and scores of people who claim her as “Mom,” “Auntie,” “Grandma,” or “Sister,” regardless of whether it was “official” or not.
She attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where she earned her teaching certificate in 1955 before embarking on a long career as an elementary teacher. She had a special fondness for sixth graders, being a role model for these soon-to-be young adults without ever having to raise her voice or lose her temper in the classroom.
She was teaching somewhere in southern Minnesota when she met Kenneth Geving, the love of her life, when her roommate, who was a friend of his from high school, couldn’t meet Ken for dinner when he was in town one night, so Bernis agreed to take her place. They went to a seafood restaurant where she ordered scallops, the only thing on the menu that she thought she could eat without making a mess.
It worked. They were married for nearly 54 years and “never had a fight.”
Bernis retired over 25 years ago but her busy schedule would seem to dispute that. The list of organizations she gave her time to is too long to publish here, but a couple of her favorites were the McGregor Library, The McGregor Clothes Closet, and Grace Lutheran Church.
Bernis was known for her dry wit, her fun-loving nature, her outstanding cooking, and her penchant for giving of her time and talents. She loved to garden and wanted more than anything to work in her flower beds one last time. She survived to see her last Spring equinox before passing peacefully and although there was still snow on the ground, her family filled her home with the flowers that gladdened her heart.
Bernis loved decorating her home for all holidays, big and small, and enjoyed hosting family and friends whether at her house or at the cabin. She would throw a party at the mere suggestion of one and never said, “No,” to a trip or adventure. In her 80s she ziplined, snorkeled, and cruised the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Alaskan Inside Passage. The Northern Lights that glowed in the sky the evening after she died was her sign to everyone that she was OK. One last holiday display from this beautiful woman.
Services will be Saturday, April 1st at 11 AM in Grace Lutheran Church, Big Sandy/McGregor with Lorielie Robinson officiating. Visitation will be Friday, March 31st from 5-7 PM in the McGregor Funeral Home with a Prayer Service at 7 PM. Visitation will also take place 1 hour before the service at the church. Burial will be in Round Lake Cemetery, Tamarack. To sign the guestbook online, go to: wwww.srtfuneral.com. Arrangements are with McGregor Funeral Home and Cremation Service, McGregor.
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