Beverly Pratt grew up in northeast Minneapolis but spent much of her life in Scandia raising seven kids, creating library puppet shows and helping start a Swedish museum.
The Gammelgården Museum in Scandia, which includes a log cabin church and manse that are more than a century old, honors the area's Swedish settlers who began arriving in 1850. Pratt, who helped her church, Elim Lutheran of Scandia, establish it, also got a gift shop started that helps fund the museum.
Pratt, 80, died last week from surgery complications.
She loved books, and after her seven kids were mostly raised, she worked as a part-time librarian for 18 years for Washington County library branches in Marine on St. Croix and Forest Lake. She also was elected to a term on the Scandia Township Board.
She and her husband, Douglas, who met at Edison High School in northeast Minneapolis, moved to what is now Scandia in 1973. Her husband, who was a dean at the University of Minnesota, died in 2008.
Pratt's passions and Scandinavian roots were evident in her rural home.
"Her house is like a library, with stacks of books and Scandinavian decor," said her oldest son, Greg Pratt. He said a grandfather clock features rosemaling, a decorative Norwegian flower painting.
And a lot of puppets sit around from her days of telling the stories of Norwegian trolls and other characters during library storytimes, he said.
Gammelgården director Lynne Blomstrand Moratzka said she, Pratt and former Elim Church Pastor J. Orville Martin were on a committee in the early 1970s that founded the Swedish museum in Scandia. Pratt was on the first museum board and had the idea to create its gift shop, she said.
Pratt was "very busy with wide interests. She loved books and traveling and learning something new," Moratzka said. Pratt also organized Elim's church library after she retired.
Tim Pratt recalled his mother dealing with occasional family arguments among her seven strong-willed children, but that didn't affect her abounding love.
"It didn't matter if you made an occasional stumble, you always knew Mom would be there accepting us," he said. "It gives you a certain amount of freedom knowing you could make mistakes, but you were loved for who you are."
In addition to sons Tim and Greg, Pratt is survived by three other sons, Christopher, Steven and Jeffrey (all five sons live in the Twin Cities area); two daughters, Greta of Norfolk, Va., and Analisa of Menlo Park, Calif.; two sisters, Betty Tviete of Grand Rapids, Minn., and Marilyn Duffy of Stevens, Pa., and 12 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Elim Lutheran Church, 20971 Olinda Trail N., Scandia.