My life has been in some thing of a turmoil for the last week and I have been remiss in my blog posts. There are many wonderful things going on with Project 24 for instance, and some sad things going on as well. One of the sad things is the bankruptcy of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota. I served as the chairman of that board for a long time and there was some turmoil back then over how to fund programs and what the programs” should be. There needs to be an accounting of what has happened to our social service organizations but that is for another time.
In the meantime the death of Fern Tegtmeier almost escaped my attention. Fern’s husband Vic, what is the chaplain at the then State Developmental Center in Grafton when I came.’He was serving the vacancy at Zion, Grafton, and was very helpful to me in the transition period. When he left to take a call to Minneapolis I took over the chaplain duties until another full-time chaplain could be called. Fern was president of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, and one of my many organists. The loss of organists is another topic that could be addressed but that’s another story for another time.
Fern V. Tegtmeier, 81, of Watertown, passed away on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at her home.
Fern was born to William J. and Susie (Imro) VanCura on April 10, 1939 in Jackson, MN. She graduated from Jackson High School in Jackson, MN and from the Fairview School of Nursing in Minneapolis. She was a free spirt and sought out various opportunities to use her nursing skills. She served as a nurse on a college campus, at summer youth camps, a family retreat center, hospitals in Seattle, WA and Fargo ND, and was an instructor at the School of Nursing at St. Luke’s Hospital in Fargo and was a school nurse in Minneapolis. In the final years she was a Home Health Nurse at the Watertown Hospital. She was an accomplished musician; she played the piano score for the major musicals presented at the Jackson High School. She studied music to prepare herself for teaching piano lessons and serving as a church organist. She sang in church and community choirs and choruses, and was a member of the Euterpe Music Club of Watertown. Fern was a student of the bible, teaching Sunday school whenever she could and instructing her children and encouraging them in their faith life. She was a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and serving as an officer on the local and district levels and a member of the Women of Good Shepherd.
Fern is survived by her husband Rev. Victor Tegtmeier; step children Timothy (Louise) Tegtmeier of Hunter, N.D, Rebecca (Alan) Grossman of Gobles, MI, and Rachel Tegtmeier of Watertown; sons Michael (Charlene) Tegtmeier and Philip Tegtmeier of Watertown; 13 granchildren and 9 great grandchildren; brothers: Charles VanCura of Bloomington, MN, Eugene (Marilyn) VanCura of Rochester, MN; and sister Joanne Benson of Roseville, MN. Also adopted friends Johan and Eva Nordstrom and daughters Annie, Ella and Lisa of Stockholm, Sweden. She developed lasting friendships wherever she went. Among her many friends, one stands out as unique, a Sunday school Pen Pal for 72 years.
Funeral service will be held 11:00am Friday, January 22, 2021 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church with the Rev. David Groth presiding. Visitation will be held on Friday from 9:00am until the time of service at the church. Burial will be in the Lutheran Cemetery.