About June K. Berg
- Published on Monday, 29 May 2000 17:48
- Written by June K. Berg
Background, Origin and Family
I am a wife, mother and grandmother. I was born on a small dairy farm near Colfax, WI on 8 November 1927. I am the oldest of 4 daughters and 2 sons.
My mother Haldis was born in Norway and immigrated to the United States in 1915. My father Henry Rolstad was born in Dunn Co. Wisconsin.
I was born at home during the great depression years. I completed high school at Colfax, WI during the World War II years.
I am presently married to Stan, have 4 children (David, Dan, Susan and Julie) 10 grandchildren (Kristen, Gretchen, Steven, Jordan, Allison, Michael, Amanda, Erik, Emily and Daniel) and 3 great grandchildren (Andrea, Brianna and Marijane).
Stan's father Tom introduced us in the spring of 1951 when Stan was home on leave from the U. S. Army CIC. Our first date was on a beautiful spring evening in May. Stan took me out for dinner at "The Spot" on Chetek Lake Narrows and my first ever steak. After dinner we walked and talked by the lake. One year later we danced in the New Year at The Spot. The popular song that year was "Tennessee Waltz" and it became our song. We were married on 16 August 1952 at Bloomington, IL and we have been together for almost 50 years now...
Activities and Interests
My prime interests are family, children and grandchildren. I enjoy having lunch or coffee with friends. I participate in church activities at Redeemer Lutheran Church. (Church Board, Sunday School Teacher, Bell Choir and Greeter.) I also served as a Girl Scout Leader.
I love collecting. (Angels, Avon Collectibles, Bells, Cobalt Blue Depression Glass, Cups, Dolls, Family Historical Pictures, Plates and Spoons. Personal family and travel photography is great fun. I enjoy reading, especially Max Lucado.
Travel is a great joy. Stan is now a forensic consultant who travels to forensic science conferences in the U. S. and abroad. I would normally always accompany him. We visited most large cities in the U. S. Our first international travel was to the first ever, international forensic science conference in the Soviet Union in 1969 (Moscow and Leningrad) during the height of the "Cold War". Later during the years 1972-1999, we visited London eight (8) times and it became our favorite city. It was during this same time period that we attended forensic conferences in Budapest, (Hungary) Edinburgh (Scotland), Dusseldorf (Germany), Gottingen (Germany), Oxford University, (England) Rome, Vienna and Zurich. I even shook hands with Pope Paul VI during an audience at the time of our visit to Rome. Because of our many trips to London, we became warm friends of Gordon and Joan Bruce of Bexley, Kent south of London and literally watched their children grow up over the years. We also visited Mexico and Canada. (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver) Stan always called me his Administrative Assistant and he listed me as such in his forensic business...
I loved Dancing. Stan and I danced the night away in such far away places as Moscow and Leningrad. I was fortunate in that I was able to take my mother on a trip to Norway in 1972, visiting relatives and my mother's birthplace in Rodoy. In 1975, I guided a similar trip with my sister Betty.
The Alzheimer's Connection
On January 26, 1998, (Black Monday) I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Because I had been concerned with my memory in 1997, tests were done at the University of Minnesota that diagnosed early stage Alzheimer's.
Since that time, my life has really changed and taken a much different turn. As my memory and mental powers started slipping away, I have had to give up my driving and many other independent activities.
This disease caused Stan and I to evaluate our life at that point and do the things that we had put off to a later date. We finally took the trip to Maui, Hawaii that we always talked about. We took the Christmas Special bus tour to Branson, Missouri that had been recommended many times by our church friends. We made a last and final goodbye trip to London to visit our English friends. We timed this trip with the opening of the Sherlock Holmes 1999 Festival in London. We stayed at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel. Included in the festival was a Reception at the Tower Bridge's high walkways and later in the week, a super fun lunch/reception at Parliment's House of Lords Plaza (Lord Cottesloe's Guests) on the Thames. This all was a very much of a fun time!
June K. Berg - May 2000
Husband Stan's Notes
Because June was already in the early stages of Alzheimer's at the time of her above story, I helped June with her story by outlining it and with the general word structure and format. But it is June's story and the information all came from June.
After June was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I wrote a small book or booklet on June's Life that I entitled: "Reminiscences of June, a Traveling Grandmother"...it was first printed and published for June's family, relatives and friends in the year of June's diagnosis...- 1998 - I did not want June's grandchildren to only think of June as a confused old lady as she progressed into the shadows of this terrible diseases. Enlarged 2d and 3rd editions followed. It is now a many times enlarged online edition on June's website with many photo illustrations and has had many thousands of visitors., It continues to be a work in progress. To access this online story of June's life, click on the below link:
On Wednesday March 16th 2005, the darkest day in our life together, it became necessary to place June in the care of the Wellstead of Roger's an assisted living facility that claimed specialization in Alzheimer's treatment but was not Medicare approved. the physical layout of the premises were impressive. To read of the heart wrenching pathway leading to this decision, click on this link:
The Wellstead selection turned out to be an unfortunate decision. The overall staff was incompetent in managing and caring for Alzheimer's victims. In the first year June lost 20 lbs due to inadequate feeding by the staff. The Wellstead took the position that the loss of weight was due to June nearing her end times and that June would probably pass on in in the next 6 months. When I later registered a written complaint to the Administration of the Wellstead in which I expressed dissatisfaction with their competence and the management of June's care, they responded with a letter (3/13/2006) that demanded June and I leave the Wellstead "effective May 1, 2006" or "at the earliest possible date." This letter was contrary to the fact that the Wellstead previously gave us a document that outlined our "right to present grievances and File Complaints" and to be "free from any form of retaliation." They recommended that June be placed in Hospice care. Although I disagreed that June was in the last 6 months of her life, June was placed in Hospice care...June was later removed from the program when it did not appear that she was near the end of her life. June lived another 2.5 years and replaced the 20 pounds of weight loss that had taken place at the Wellstead.
We were fortunate in quickly finding a fine facility that was literally a "stones throw" from the house that June lived in for nearly 40 years and her old neighborhood of near 50 years. (The Wellstead was 21 miles away.)
Maybe this is God's response to my prayers to bring June home. June is now at "The Villa" (3/24/2006) which is the Alzheimer's wing of the Benedictine Health Center at Innsbruck in New Brighton, MN. I have found the Benedictine to have a very positive and entirely different management atmosphere. This is probably due to the facts that unlike the Wellstead, the Benedictine is non profit, Medicare approved and a Faith based or Spiritual based Organization. Also unlike the Wellstead, the Benedictine has a full time staff member (Marilyn) whose only duty is training and retraining the nurses and aids. The CEO (Susan) takes her turn as front door receptionist when needed. A front office staff that assists with resident feeding.
The first photo on top right was taken in December 1994 at June's home at 6025 Gardena Lane. The second photo down on the right was taken in February 1998 at San Francisco just a month after June's diagnosis. The third photo down on the right was taken in November 2008 at the Wellstead of Rogers. June has a faded look from the effects of the Alzheimer's disease. The bottom drawing of June walking in the footsteps of an angel was a drawing made by June's and my friend Gordon Bruce of Bexley, Kent, United Kingdom. Gord is a commercial artist and an author.
Stan's notes on Junes Passing and her Extraordinary Life
On October 23rd 2008, June passed away from Aspiraton Pneumonia, a common complication of Alzheimer's disease, just 16 days short of her 81st birthday. The light of my life was snuffed out! June had survived almost a full 12 years from the time of her first symptoms in 1997.. (The average survival time is 8 years form time of diagnosis.)
Our Great Grandchildren (Erik's) Owen Oneal who was born on 5 August 2006 and Katrina Ann who was born on 18 January 2008,( Steven's) twin girls Sophie Olivia and Ileana Charlotte born 29 April 2010, (Allison's) twin boys Devin Jessie and Brandon Lee born 15 September 2011, will never know their special Grandmother. On August 1st 2012, another great grandchild was born to Erik and this grandchild was named June Marie in honor of great grandmother June. The middle name honors another grandmother on the mother's side of the family.
June was a most extraordinary women. Not a day passes but that she is the first thing on my mind every morning and the last thing every night....I miss her so much. June was the Orchid that I found while searching for a Rose. She was truly a once in a life time find! I owe both June and God and unending debt for having June in my life as a wife for 56 years.
Why did God bless me by putting June in my life?…it was like winning the grand prize in a lottery of life. But God is the one that handed me the wining tickets. I am sure that June and my meeting was a providential appointment and not a chance encounter!…Perhaps God knew that I needed June to turn my life around...perhaps God knew that June would need me later as she traveled into the shadows and the darkness of Alzheimer's...Satan's sponsored twelve year journey.
The Bible has an excellent description of a Wife and Mother as a person of "noble character": (Proverbs 31: 10-28)
“A Wife of noble character…is worth far more than rubies…she brings…good all the days of her life…she watches over the affairs of her household…Her Children arise and call her blessed, her Husband …praises her.”
The above quotation from the Bible as it defines a wife and mother of noble character, is an excellent description of June's life and character and the love of her family for her!
The early years of my forensic career was very successful years. While I was busy taking my bows, June was content to stand in the background. Being the humble person she was, she gave little import to her own achievements and work. It is now very clear to me that it was June that was doing the important work. It was June that was doing God's work all of the time.
June was a lady focused on doing God’s work…June loved her Redeemer Lutheran Church and in this church she pulled a very heavy oar. June served on the Redeemer Lutheran Church Board. June taught Sunday school and was a Girl Scout Leader. June visited the Lynwood Nursing Home each Wednesday evening and had dinner with the residents. June was a part of the Redeemer’s afternoon ministry to the Fridley Convalescent Nursing home. June took her turn assisting with serving noon meals at the Marie Sandvik Mission in downtown Minneapolis. June delivered “Meals on Wheels”. June was frequently a Chair-woman for the church's “Ruth” and “Rebecca” circles and often hosted meetings in her home. June served on the Service and the Nominating Committee's of the (LCW) Lutheran Church Women's group. .June also assisted in the church kitchen, was a Sunday “Greeter” and a member of the Bell Choir. June was paired in one of Redeemer's evangelistic teams that called on church members and others as a part of the church “Evangelistic Explosion” program...
I would suggest that perhaps June was walking in the footsteps of an angel...this poem which I adapted for June tells it in that way:
"June, In the Footsteps of an Angel"
“June, you did not wish for riches nor the glow of greatness,
but wherever you would go,
some weary heart would be gladdened at your smile,
or a shadowed life would know sunshine for a while.
And so your path is like a track of light,
as an angels’ footsteps passing through the night.”
June loved her last home at 6025 Gardena Lane more than any previous home. June lived in this home for almost 40 years. This was a home that we purchased the lot, and then participated in the design of the home. We watched the home as it was constructed. Most of the family holidays over the years were spent at this home on Gardena Lane. For pictures of June's home at 6025 Gardena Lane and for a poem about the home click on this link:
Note: For greater detail on June's life with Alzheimer's and her struggle with the disease of almost 12 years, please click on the below link for the article on:
Alzheimer's Nepal - Lalitpur, Nepal - (5 September 2013): "Good bless to all the family of June."
Terry Shepherd - Warsaw, Indiana - (5 September 2013): "That is a beautiful tribute to June. Beautiful web site."
Tracey Bressler Muldowney - Pensacola, Florida -(6 September 2013): "Beautiful! As a nurse & daughter of an amazing dad who lost his battle to Lewy Body dementia- it's so important that we all remember who they were pre- dementia. Mr Berg- you did a wonderful job letting us know " who June was". She was a wife, mother, Christian, sister, daughter, employee & friend. She liked to travel & dance. She was loving & humble. Thank you again for sharing:."
Vicki Cadogan - Limerick, Ireland - (6 September 2013): "A truly lovely woman."
Gill Denman - Essex, United Kingdom - (6 September 2013): "Thanks Stan, you have done a superb job both publicising dementia and also showing the world that it concerns people - too often the illness is mentioned and it is easy to forget the humanity side of things. It reminds us all of those who are left behind, too often the families are ignored, thank you for allowing us all into your family's life. It gives outside contact to those who might be feeling left behind by the world as prisoners of dementia. In many ways, everyone is one family when dealing with this evil disease."
Heather Pearson - Southampton- United Kingdom - (6 September 2013): "TOP STORY!"...Friend's News..."
Bonnie Seip - Ottsville, Pennsylvania - (6 September 2013): "Thank You Mr Berg for Sharing Junes Wonderful Life . I am sure she touched Many Lives ..."
Donald Hiatt - Clovis, California - (6 September 2013): "Thank you for sharing this touching website! It is a wonderful lesson in the power of love, undying love....I really like your words, "June was the orchid I found while looking for a rose." That really says it all. Blessings and Peace...Don."
Marion Reinartz - Cologne, Germany - (6 September 2013): "Thank you Stanton!"... loving memories to June!"
Marsha McKneely Ault - Nacogdoches, Texas - (6 September 2013): "I love the words to the poem "In the Foot Steps of an Angel". I hope one day on the other side of the veil. . . I get to meet your June. I would be very humbled."
Anabela Loureiro - Toronto, Ontario - (6 September 2013): "Thank you so much for sharing, Stan...Beautiful image....a simple drawing that says so much."
John Stevens - Twin Falls, Idaho - (28 March 2014): "Great read Stan."
Chris Hodge - Wrexham, United Kingdom - (28 March 2014):"I love London too. Another great read Stanton."
Connie Sue Lowers - Decatur,Tennessee - (26 April 2015): "There is something so special about June's smile that just draws you in."