Victoria Anderson Bergstrom, 97, a lifelong resident of Swedesburg, Iowa, passed away peacefully in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Feb. 10, 2020, surrounded by her loving family. Visitation will be held Friday, Feb. 21, at Swedesburg Lutheran Church in Swedesburg, Iowa, from 5 to 7 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Swedesburg Lutheran Church with Pastor Mark Youngquist officiating. Following the service, a luncheon will be held at the Swedesburg Church Parish Hall.
Although known as Vicky, she was born Anna Ruby Victoria Anderson on her family farm on May 25, 1922, the daughter of C. Edwin and Emelia (Lindeen) Anderson. As a young girl, she loved riding her horse down to the catawba tree grove on the Anderson farm. She recalled with deep affection her parents taking in several young immigrant men from Sweden as they arrived in the United States to establish a new life in this Swedish community.
Vicky graduated from Olds High School in 1940 where she played basketball. She then attended Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa) in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where she obtained her elementary teaching certificate, played golf on campus and was a member of Theta Gamma Nu sorority. She started her teaching career at the one-room Prairie Gem Schoolhouse in north Henry County, and then taught for several years in the lower elementary grades at Crawfordsville School. She married the love of her life, Melvin "Meg" Bergstrom, on Aug. 22, 1943, while he was home on a short leave from the Navy during World War II. After a very brief honeymoon in Iowa City, made possible only by the family's hoarding of gas-rationing coupons, Meg returned to serve as a lieutenant on the USS Birmingham in the Pacific Theater while Vicky continued to teach school. Vicky, as a young war bride, would travel to San Francisco by train to meet Meg when the Birmingham would dock at the shipyards for combat repairs.
Vicky was baptized and confirmed at Swedesburg Church, where she and Meg were married. Her parents and all four of their children were married there as well. Vicky's strong faith was exemplified by her lifelong participation and support of the Swedesburg Church. For decades, she and Meg were faithful to the Evangelism Committee, where they tirelessly brought many new members to the church. Vicky served on the church council, was active in women's groups, served as mentor to several young Confirmands, and stepped up anywhere help was needed. She and Meg started the "Coffee Cart," initiated the church greeting committee and helped start the Church Youth's Fourth of July Chicken Barbecue. Vicky also participated and supported many Lutheran Synod programs. It was fitting that her last outing on Jan. 26 was attending services and a potluck at the Swedesburg Church.
Vicky and Meg farmed and raised their family 2 miles east of Swedesburg. While Meg taught at WACO High School, Vicky handled the bulk of the farm responsibilities, including tractor work. Their front door always was open for all who came by to visit. Festive parties and celebrations were commonplace. As longtime University of Iowa I-Club members, they seldom missed an Iowa home football game. Their ever-present tailgating for decades at Kinnick set the bar high for the many who came by.
Vicky, often known as the exercise queen, was doing step aerobics in the 1960s, had myriad exercise equipment in the basement long before that trend started, golfed at Winfield and Mount Pleasant, helped raise money for the Mount Pleasant Recreation Center and even exercised up to her last days.
Vicky was a member of PEO Chapter NZ in Mount Pleasant and was active in the Olds Legion Auxiliary. As her Swedish heritage was important to her, she supported the Swedish American Museum in Swedesburg and was a relentless seller of tickets for the annual Swedish smorgasbord.
Survivors include her children, Vicki Lee Reschly of Denver, Colo., Ann (Bill) Sindlinger of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Elizabeth Graber of Iowa City, Iowa, Brian (Diane) Bergstrom of Cedar Rapids and AFS student Maria Louisa Sequeiros of Cuzco, Peru; grandchildren, Elizabeth Ann (Daniel) Hermes of Denver, Colo., Scott (Marla) Reschly of Charlotte, N.C., Tucker Sindlinger of Cedar Rapids, Allie Sindlinger of Iowa City, Adam (Cindy) Graber of Denver, Colo., Anne (Kyle) Burnham of Muscatine, Austin Bergstrom of Chicago, August Bergstrom of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Anders Bergstrom of Cedar Rapids; and great-grandchildren, Hazel and Wynn Hermes, Rosie and Charlotte Reschly, Brayden Graber and Lincoln and Cameron Burnham. She also is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Arvid and Joan Anderson of Crawfordsville, Iowa, and many loyal and caring nieces and nephews, as well as a host of dear friends whom she always held close to her heart.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 67 years, Melvin "Meg" Bergstrom, who died in 2011, sons-in-law, Christian Reschly and Doug Graber; and her brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Lenore Anderson, as well as all her Bergstrom in-laws.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Swedesburg Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 88, Swedesburg, IA 52652, or to the Swedish American Museum, 107 James Ave., Swedesburg, IA 52652. The Snyder and Hollenbaugh Funeral and Cremation Services of Winfield, formerly Honts Funeral Home, is assisting the family. Online condolences can be left at sandhfuneralservice.com.