Maureen Bergan

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Maureen Bergan, 80, died peacefully, with family at her side, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, from the effects of more than 30 years of living with rheumatoid arthritis. She faced every hardship in her journey with optimism, humor, positivity and a radiant smile. 


Maureen Ellen O’Brien was born July 11, 1942, in the same farmhouse north of Strawberry Point where her father was born. She was the first of John Michael and Kathryn Julia (Farmer) O’Brien’s four daughters. She was baptized at Sacred Heart Cox Creek Catholic Church near the family farm. She received her First Holy Communion at St. Mary Catholic Church in Strawberry Point and was confirmed at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Volga. 


She began her education in a one-room schoolhouse one mile from her childhood home. Maureen later attended school in Strawberry Point, graduating third in her SPHS Class of 1960. She was overjoyed to attend her 60th class reunion in June, which had been postponed due to the pandemic. 


When Maureen was 16, she met the fun-loving Bernard Bergan at Lakeside Ballroom in Guttenberg. She was participating in a group dance with friends when he saw her across the room and joined in just to meet her. Their courtship began that night, and they were married two years and one week later, on Feb. 13, 1961, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Volga. They were blessed with eight children. 


Before marriage and starting a family, she worked in the office of the Clayton County Treasurer. After her younger children were attending school, she worked for the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as a private firm, conducting research interviews all over the state. Of course, Maureen’s primary focus was working alongside Bernie in their farming operation southwest of Elkader and raising their large family together. 


Faith and family were most important to Maureen and Bernie. They have been members of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Elkader, their entire married life. They belonged to two neighborhood card clubs for over 40 years and played with another group twice weekly when they moved from the farm into Elkader. They loved to dance, solve The Jumble in the daily newspaper and travel. They visited more than 40 states together. Maureen enjoyed reading, word puzzles and being a “living room contestant” on Wheel of Fortune. She found joy in simple things like admiring the birds at her feeders, the flowers outside her window and mushroom hunting on Mother’s Day. She loved family gatherings of any kind. She was immensely proud of her Irish heritage and would often reminisce about the March 2014 trip to Ireland with her three daughters. She modeled kindness and generosity to anyone lucky enough to meet her. 


Survivors include her husband of 61 years, Bernard; seven children, Jeanice (James) Reimer, Sheila Bergan, Kevin (Amy Jo) Bergan, Patrick (Charlene) Bergan, Terry Bergan, Erin (Todd) Bloomquist and Ryan (Bobbie) Bergan; 14 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; three sisters, Karen (Jerry) Recker, Helen Harford Weber and Mary (Leslie Pritchard) O’Brien-Pritchard; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Patricia Roach, Catherine Thornton and Michael (Ruth) Bergan; and many beloved extended family members and friends. 


Maureen was preceded in death by a son, Steven Joseph Bergan (Aug. 20, 1989); her parents; her in-laws, Thomas and Nelly Bergan; a step-father-in-law, William Bjerke; and several other family members. 


Visitation will be from 2:30 p.m. until Mass time on Sunday, Aug. 14, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 4 p.m., with Rev. John Haugen as celebrant.


Interment will follow at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Elkader.


Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Elkader is assisting the family.

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