Theodocia "Teddy" Bergstrom probably wouldn't want her loved ones to list all the places she volunteered, the many ways she proved herself a servant in her 91 years.
Despite her boundless energy, Bergstrom shied away from attention, her family said, leading instead with the quiet humility she'll be remembered for.
Bergstrom, of Stillwater, died Sept. 2 after many years of living with dementia.
Bergstrom's husband of 65 years, Theodore Bergstrom, died a year ago. The two met at a celebration for her graduation from Denver University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in nursing. She asked him to dance and they quickly clicked, bonding first over their similar names.
They married soon after, and for the next six and half decades, they were Ted and Teddy, together. They enjoyed traveling, attending lectures, taking nature walks and bringing others to their treasured spots in northern Minnesota.
"They were such a team, just as their names implied," daughter-in-law Bev Bergstrom said. "They both had a love of learning and life, just a natural curiosity."
Ted and Teddy Bergstrom raised five children and built a log cabin on the north arm of Burntside Lake, near their beloved Camp du Nord. For more than 30 years, they spent May through November up at the cabin, where the door was always open to a wide range of guests. Those who came to visit were treated to Teddy Bergstrom's generosity and baked goods — usually something with wild blueberries — both before and after a long hike or a canoe trip.
"She served us really well," daughter Karen Hewes said. "Even if that was just the expectation of a woman in those days, she embraced it and found so much joy in it."
When she did have time for herself, Teddy Bergstrom often chose to spend it giving back. She was an active member of the Presbyterian Church of the Way in Shoreview, where she sang in the choir, served on the Caring and Sharing committee and taught Sunday school. She also volunteered with the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts and helped at a counseling hotline.
In his last years, Theodore Bergstrom was a caretaker for his wife. He kept her busy with many activities and learned to do the cooking and household chores that she'd done for him for most of their marriage.
"What they did for each other was really incredible," Hewes said.
Hewes stayed with her mother in her final days. On the day before she died, mother and daughter held hands and watched "The Sound of Music," Teddy Bergstrom's favorite movie. She referenced it often when they were out hiking and even wore her hair in a similar style to Julie Andrews' in the film.
After Bergstrom died, a procession of staff at the memory care unit at the Lakes at Stillwater came to say goodbye. Hers was the room they'd visit when they needed a smile, they told her family members.
In packing up their home and cabin, Bev Bergstrom said the family found about a dozen Bibles and several books that Ted Bergstrom had bought to learn more about his wife's dementia. They also found at least 10 blueberry cookbooks.
"I think she lived the life she really wanted," Hewes said. "And she lived it so, so well."
Teddy Bergstrom is survived by her children John Bergstrom of Duluth; Karen Hewes of Stillwater; Carl Bergstrom of Carmel Valley, Calif.; Bill Bergstrom of Bayport; Ann Lind of Duluth and nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A celebration of her life will be held privately with family members.