Bernice Lorraine Davenport, 84, St. Anthony Park, died peacefully on March 16, 2024. Bern, as she was known to many, grew up in Monmouth, Illinois.

Active in 4-H, she won awards at county fairs and the Illinois State Fair for her beautifully designed and sewn clothing. In the fall of 1953, she wore one of her “formals” to the high school homecoming dance with her date, classmate Garvin, and that was the beginning of their 70-year relationship.

After high school, Bern completed a three-year degree at what was then Moline Lutheran School of Nursing in Moline, Illinois, which included an internship at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. She graduated as a registered nurse in 1960.

That December, she and Garvin were married in Monmouth and lived for the rest of that year in Grinnell, Iowa, while he finished college.

Next, they moved to Minneapolis, where Bern served as a post-surgical RN at University of Minnesota Hospital, while her husband pursued his doctorate in American Studies.

Their first two children, Garvin III and Paul, were born while they lived in Minneapolis. In 1969, they moved to St. Anthony Park, where their third son, Gregory, was born.

With three children and a large house to manage, Bern shifted from full-time employment to being a part-time staff nurse at St. Anthony Park Nursing home and, later, as infection control nurse at Sholom Home. Still later, she served as a nurse in what was then the SAP Block-Nurse program, specializing in foot care.

Bern was a long-time active member in the SAP Antique Club and Chapter K of P.E.O. and enjoyed Wednesday morning coffee get-togethers with her close neighbors. She was a much-admired chef and gracious hostess for many family dinners and celebrations, as well as for gatherings in their St. Anthony Park home for Hamline University faculty and staff.

Bern always looked forward to spending time with her three grandchildren, Miles, Landon and Gabrielle. Her “Grandma activities” included making cookies, telling family stories and playing board games.

Bern loved growing flowers and vegetables in the backyard garden. The high point of each growing season was the day when the rhubarb crop was ready to harvest. She loved rhubarb, and her rhubarb cakes, sauces and pies were family favorites.

Swedish on both sides of her Olson/Oberg family, Bern was very proud of her Scandinavian heritage. Each Christmas season started at dawn on Dec. 13 with Santa Lucia candles, rolls and coffee.

To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, she and Garvin toured Sweden and were able to find the birthplaces of her ancestors.

She is survived by her husband Garvin, sons Garvin III (Hiromi), Paul (Tracy) and Greg (Julie), and three grandchildren.

A memorial service was held. Contributions in Bern’s memory can be given to the Davenport Endowed Scholarship at Hamline University; Alzheimer’s Association; Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation; Planned Parenthood; or Protect Minnesota.

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