Lucille (Larson) Bjerke passed away peacefully at Aase Haugen Senior Services in Decorah, IA, Feb. 17, 2023.
The family is planning a celebration of life at a later date and future interment at Upper Beaver Creek Lutheran Church.
Lucille was born in 1942. She graduated from high school in Mauston, WI. She then attended Luther College in Decorah where she studied English and art. She then attended the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. She began a career teaching English in the Black River Falls School District in 1965. There, she met her future husband, Gerald Bjerke, who taught math, chemistry and physics.
Lucille left teaching to raise her young children and continued to pursue her love of art with painting and crafts. She was a proliferate painter, and many of her works featuring countrified rural landscapes adorned the walls of the Black River Falls Memorial Hospital for years. Her love for art, crafts and all things Norwegian led her to open a gift shop in Black River Falls called The Open Trunk in 1975.
Lucille greatly enjoyed genealogy and researching her family history. In her research, she traveled to Norway to expand her church records and meet extended family members that had not emigrated. She published a book of her family genealogic research in the 1990’s.
After retiring, Lucille and Gerald moved from Black River Falls to spend most of their time in Hatfield, WI. They enjoyed retirement at their home on Lake Arbutus, where they had spent most of their summers raising their two children. During the winters, they escaped the snow by vacationing in Green Valley, AZ.
She is survived by her son, Lee Bjerke, and wife Lindsey (Stahl) of Decorah, IA, and her daughter Kari (Pollock) and husband Robin (Mike) of Camden, DE. She is also survived by three grandchildren, Stefanie Bjerke, Cassandra Bjerke and Darcy Hostetler; two stepgrandchildren, Kaden Alstad and Karlyn Alstad; a sister-in-law, Marion Rude; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Lucille was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald, and her parents, Otis and Ruth (Hilleque) Larson.
In lieu of cards and flowers, memorials may be sent to Aase Haugen Senior Services or Vesterheim Norwegian Museum, both of Decorah, IA, or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Black River Falls, WI.
Helms Funeral Home, 604 South Ave., Decorah, IA 52101, assisted the family.