Viola ‘Vi’ Bernhardt

Viola ‘Vi’ Bernhardt

TRIMONT — Celebration of Life service for Viola “Vi” Bernhardt, 100, of Trimont, Minn., will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Trimont, with Rev. John Meyer officiating. Burial will be in the Cedar Lutheran Cemetery, rural Trimont.

Vi was called to her eternal rest Saturday morning, Nov. 2, 2019, at Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center in Fairmont, Minn. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, at Kramer Family Funeral Home in Trimont, and one hour prior to the service Wednesday at the church. Messages of sympathy may be sent to the family online at www.kramerfuneralhome.com

She had the most positive spirit and was continuously involved in community activities until just the last few years. She and her husband Sief provided an example for how to live in the community and how always to show compassion and love to family and friends. One person who knew her wrote, “We remember her as a gracious, elegant, cheerful lady who was dedicated to giving back to the community. The world needs more like her.” 

Viola Alma Emily Minnie Breitbarth was born July 21, 1919, to August Breitbarth and Alvina Breitbarth nee Busch in Wishek, N.D., where they had homesteaded a decade prior. The Breitbarths moved to Martin County, Minn., in 1938 and began farming the Harry and Minnie Bird farm in Cedar Township. Viola stayed in Wishek with her aunt and uncle Emil and Bertha Breitbarth until graduating with the Wishek High School class of 1938, then rejoined her parents.

Vi met Siegfried Harold Bernhardt at a dance at Fox Lake Ballroom. “We saw each other across the dance floor and that was it,” she told her family in 2007. Vi and Sief were married April 20, 1941. Sief entered the U.S. Army in June of the same year.

After the end of the war, they built a house in Trimont. In 1950, Sief and Vi began farming her parents’ place, which they were proud to purchase in 1967. They loved dancing and traveling together. They had three children: Terry, Angela and Kevin. Sief died May 10, 1979. When other Trimont women lost their husbands, she was always the first to arrive and offer support.

In 1985, she moved from the farm into the town of Trimont. Vi belonged to the American Legion Auxiliary of Foster-Bernhardt Post 373 for 75 years. She helped choose Trimont’s American Legion Girls State participants. She was a 4-H leader, and an active member of the Minnesota Farmers Union.

At Trinity Lutheran Church, she was an active member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and prayer chain, and taught Sunday School and organized the greeters.

For many years, she organized Daffodil Days in Trimont for the American Cancer Society. She helped start Trimont’s Meals on Wheels program and delivered meals into her late 80s.

Visitors to her kitchen were always asked whether they were hungry or needed a little lunch or coffee. She was always interested in hearing how other people were doing. She loved to travel, cook and listen to music. She treasured her adoring family, whom she was very proud of and encouraged in many ways.

Vi was preceded in death by her parents; her loving husband, Siegfried; her siblings, Alfred Breitbarth, Luella Wolff, LaVera Nordby, and Estella Anderson; her granddaughter, Leah Smith née Carlson; and her many sisters and brothers-in-law.

Vi is survived by her sister-in-law, Nelda Berry née Bernhardt; her many special nieces and nephews; as well as Vi and Sief’s three children: Terence (Terry) Bernhardt (Jeanne Laqua) of White Bear Lake, Minn., Angela (Bob) Carlson of Sherburn, Minn., and Kevin (Brenda) Bernhardt of Waseca, Minn.; nine grandchildren: Paul (Jolana) Bernhardt of Minneapolis, Minn., and children Hannah and Henry; Hans Bernhardt of Bloomington, Minn.; Sara (Gregg) Origer of Willow, Alaska, and children Jessica (Adam) Kincaid, Anthony Origer (fiancée Marilena Staudenmaier), and Mackenze Origer; Tina (Wes) Carlson-Oesterich of Trimont, and daughter Lydia; Ryan Carlson (fiancée Heather Dow) of Prior Lake, Minn., and children Hunter, Mikaylea, and Michael; Grant (Kelly) Carlson of Trimont, and children Ella, Madelyn, and Jack; Megan Bernhardt McDermott (Phil McDermott) of Savage, Minn., and children Sadie Krampf and Eloise and Rory McDermott; Cassie Bernhardt (Cam Peterson) of Savage, Minn., and their children Finley and Sienna; Hannah Bernhardt (Jason Misik) of Finlayson, Minn., and their son, Harvey. She was blessed to know her great-great-grandson August Kincaid.