Emily's Story

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Emily Berggrem
Hedrick. Emily Louise France Berggrem 101, died on March 5, 2017 at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. She was born March 16, 1915 in Centerville, Iowa to Grace Beach France and Walter Howard France. Emily's first home was in Ollie Iowa.
In 1919, when Emily was four, her mother died at 34 from the 1918 influenza pandemic. Emily was then raised by her father and aunt and uncle in Oskaloosa. She remembered her Aunt Mary Hanna fondly who taught her at home until she went to elementary school for second grade. Her father then married Mollie Patterson and Emily returned to Ollie for third grade. Emily was a guard on the Ollie's winning basketball teams. In their gold and black uniforms, it was the era when they switched from bloomer to short pants.
After graduating from high school in 1932, Emily attended Stephens College for women in Columbia, Missouri. At that time, she took a student trip to Cuba remembering it as a beautiful country. In 1936, Emily graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a degree in English. There she became a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority. After graduation, she drove with a girlfriend to California and returned on the train. Emily was adventurous for the time.
Emily moved to Des Moines and worked for the Iowa Employment Service and the Iowa Lumberman's Association. There she met her future husband Edwin Gerard Berggren. Soon he was off to war serving in the Army with a Transportation unit that went into Normandy two weeks after D-Day. Ed and Emily were married soon after his return in 1946 at the First Methodist Church in Des Moines. For their honeymoon, they went to Chicago on a train and saw a Cub's game.
Ed and Emily lived most of their lives in Hedrick, Iowa where they were owners of the France Lumber Company. Emily worked as the secretary of the Board of Education for the Hedrick Consolidated School District for 13 years. After retiring, Ed and Emily enjoyed traveling, visiting Europe, Hawaii, and most parts of the United States. They liked going to major league baseball games because Ed was a real baseball fan. After forty-six years of marriage and a good life together Ed passed away in 1994.
Throughout her life, Emily was active in many organizations. In her quiet, kind way she loved to serve. Emily was Worthy Matron at the Hedrick Order of Eastern Star and belonged to the local Past Matrons organization. As a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, she worked with the local chapter supporting veterans. She volunteered at the Hedrick Public Library and did the bookkeeping for the Congregate Meals Program. She loved getting dressed-up and going out to eat with friends or family. Emily's Hedrick friends were always an important and cherished part of her life.
Emily was a 70 plus year, very active member of the Hedrick-Martinsburg United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women. In the last years of her life, she attended Oakwood United Methodist Church in Pleasant Hill.
Emily is survived by two daughters, Jane (Bill) of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Nancy of Ankeny, Iowa and many extended family members. She was a wonderful mother who cared very deeply about her family.
In 2006, Emily moved to The Shores at Pleasant Hill where she received loving care for over ten years. We thank them for their support and many kindnesses over the years.
Memorial services will be held Thursday, March 9, 2017, at 12:00 pm in the Fremont Funeral Chapel with Reverend Bill Hornback and Reverend Dr. Richard Boatman officiating. A private burial will be held. Visitation will be at 11:00 am Thursday in the Fremont Funeral Chapel prior to the service at 12:00. Memorials may be made to the Hedrick-Martinsburg Methodist Church in Hedrick or the Oakwood United Methodist Church in Pleasant Hill.
Published on March 7, 2017
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