Donald Eldon Bergstrom
March 2, 1927 – June 20, 2020
Donald Eldon Bergstrom was the eldest son of Oscar and Olga Bergstrom and brother to William and Wayne. He was born on March 2, 1927 and passed away peacefully on June 20, 2020 surrounded by his caring and devoted family.
Donald (Don) lived a life dedicated to his family and the teachings of the Catholic faith. He grew up in Northeast Portland, married his Jefferson High School sweetheart, Shirleen Devaney, in September 1947 and held her hand through 66 years of marriage until her death in 2013. Together they loved and guided eight children primarily by example. Don was a man who approached life with a sense of humor, gratitude, and hard work.
Don served in the Marine Corps. during World War II and then continued his education at Vanport College (now Portland State University) under the G.I. Bill. Don and Shirleen found their beloved home on Laurelhurst Place just before the Columbus Day storm in 1962. The Bergstrom family spent 26 years in that neighborhood, actively participating in community events yet enjoying dinner together at the same time every night and services at All Saints Church every Sunday.
Don retired in 1984 after 30 years with the City of Portland, the last 18 years as the City of Portland’s Traffic Engineer. He was an avid golfer, long distance runner and Master Gardener. He was able to travel and relax at the family vacation home in Sunriver, Oregon during retirement. Don enjoyed the music of his era, laughed at his own jokes, loved his own cooking, and was a man totally at ease with himself. He kept his language kind and simple, opinions to himself unless asked, and believed that “if you didn’t have something nice to say, it was better to say nothing at all.”
Don and Shirleen moved to a small acreage in Damascus in the late 1980s and he became a gentleman farmer. He continued to demonstrate his faith in God through his kindness and service work. He often exclaimed, with a small tear in his eye, that God had been so good to him and how he had been blessed with a family that cared so deeply for one another. He truly believed and modeled the ideal that “who you are is your gift to God.”
Don experienced the challenges of dementia in his later years with an uncommon peace and resilience. A beaming smile and positive outlook made him a pleasure to be around for his family and caregivers. All of his daughters were his professed “favorite” and each was sworn to secrecy to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. His current favorite was most likely to be the last daughter to treat him to a Burgerville milkshake.
Don is survived by his children Michelle Bergstrom, Erik (Kelly) Bergstrom, Gretchen (Darel) Ford, Dawn Bergstrom, Rebecca (Michael) Cranor, Jan (John) Meriwether, Julie (James Wallace) Bergstrom and Erin Bergstrom.
His grandchildren include Julianne (Jon) Cole, Alexis (Andy Thompson) Smith-Thompson, Andrew (Neda) Bergstrom, Huston (Natasha) Hedinger, Molly (Kyle) O’Connor, Ashley (Max Battison) Gardiner, Hayden Meriwether, Carter Wallace, Julia Meriwether, Olivia Wallace and Michaela Linton.
He was predeceased by his beloved grandson Erinn Smith.
Great grandchildren Shayleigh, Noah, Owen, Josef, Leila, Faelan, Tariq, Zayn, Amelia, and Jude complete the lineage.
In loving tribute to a life well lived and a legacy unparalleled, the family bids farewell to a man whose loss is only eased by the knowledge he rests in the grace of God with Shirleen by his side.
Private Graveside Service with Military Honors
Monday, June 29, 2020
Donald Eldon Bergstrom
June 23, 2020
I was lucky enough to spend sleepovers at the Bergstrom household. Uncle Don was either working, playing golf or as the family put it, " fixing the furnace" which was really a catnap on the couch.
One day I found Uncle Don catnapping and asked him when he was going to " fix the furnace". He replied that's what I'm doing, now go away. Later Aunt Shirleen told me that Don was not to be disturbed while catnapping.
Boy, I never that again.
You had a very blessed life Uncle Don.