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Nancy Ann Bekkedal, 72, of Viroqua, Wisconsin passed away at Vernon Memorial Hospital, on February 2, 2024.
Nancy was born to Emmett and Alma (Thompson) Peterson on March 29, 1951, the youngest of 10 children who grew up on a small farm in rural Viroqua. Nancy lived her entire life in Viroqua and was well respected by all those who knew her.
Nancy attended Davis Grade School and was a 1969 graduate of Viroqua High School. She planned on pursuing a teaching degree, instead, she began her banking career at the State Bank of Viroqua in August 1969. She took pride in advancing her competency in her banking career by becoming a graduate of the prestigious “Graduate School of Banking.” She left the State Bank in 1998 and spent three years at Anchor Bank-Viroqua Branch until December 31, 2001. She was a distributor for Market America, a national leader in nutraceuticals from 2002-2009, attending numerous conferences and optimizing the health of her clients. On January 2, 2002, she began a new career with the City of Viroqua in the position of the City of Viroqua-Utility, Clerk of Wisconsin Sewer Department, prior to her retirement in April 2017. Everywhere she worked she gained trust and respect from her co-workers and the guests she served.
In September 1970, Nancy married Steven Bekkedal. Together they had two children, Matthew and Angella (Dobbs). Nancy was the proud Grandmother of three grandchildren: Dalton Dobbs, Lukas and Kara Bekkedal.
Through their marriage, the family operated a dairy farm, worked in the banking industry, and held various public service professional and volunteer positions. Nancy was a tireless worker. She would rise to assist in dairy chores in the morning, work a full-time job at the State Bank, return home to milk cows, make a family dinner, then perform the functions of a wonderful Mom of school aged children. She was the epitome of a “strong, confident, woman” who faced all challenges and humbly served others. She was a loving mother who selflessly gave of her time to teach, lead, and provide for her family.
Service to the community was also important to Nancy. From 1990-1993, she was a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board. In this position, she was instrumental in establishing a college scholarship for the Miss Viroqua Pageant. She also supported the Viroqua American Legion Baseball Team by cheering on the athletes, serving in the concession stands, organizing merchandise sales, and performing any duties that needed attention. She enjoyed sports and was an ardent fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers, and Wisconsin Badgers sports teams.
In 1989 she met John Bjerke, a local chiropractor. They developed a loving and mutually respectful and trusting relationship which lasted over 30 years until the time of her death. The couple spent countless hours together performing activities of daily living, household construction projects, gardening, creating fun and food for numerous family activities. They were always side by side. She had great love for John and his extended family including John’s daughters Lisa, Kristin, and Megan. She was graciously accepted into John’s family with open arms.
John played an integral part in Nancy’s confidence as a woman and opened her eyes to new experiences. One day, while visiting friends at a local farm, she was unexpectedly introduced to mule riding. For the next ten years, she and John enjoyed riding their mules, Jim Bob and Billy Bob, for relaxing trail rides. She was energized by the riding activity and was very proud of her animals, taking pictures and describing the escapades of her animals to friends and family.
Christian faith was also important to Nancy. She was a lifelong member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. She assisted in children and adult Sunday School classes and served as the Immanuel Lutheran Librarian for several years. She served many funeral lunches and made many desserts for her women’s Circle Group. In later years, she enjoyed the collegiality of “The Quilters Club '' a group of “industrious” individuals, creating and providing quilts to newborns, shut-ins, Confirmation graduates, and friends of Immanuel. She also consistently shared God’s Word by giving “Christ in Our Home” booklets to encourage all people to engage in Bible study.
Nancy is survived by John Bjerke, her life companion of 30+ years: children, Matthew Bekkedal and Angella Dobbs (Spencer Fox, Jr., fiancee); grandchildren: Dalton Dobbs, Lukas and Kara Bekkedal; siblings: Laura E. (Chuck) Lancrete, Laureen “Rena or Pete” Schaeffer, Mary A. Settles-Kroeplin, Daniel (Julianna) Peterson, Steven A. (Mary Ellen) Peterson, Stewart A. (Marla) Peterson. Nancy is also survived by several generations of nieces and nephews. She knew their names and she was loved and respected by all of them.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Emmett and Alma Peterson; siblings: Arden Peterson, Dale Peterson, and Martha A. “Marti” (Thomas) Zitzner; nieces, Kerry and Hannah; and great great-nephew Damion.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Vernon County Historical Society and History Center, Toys for Tots, Immanuel Lutheran Church Building Repair Fund, Immanuel Lutheran Quilters, or the charity of your choice.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, February 16, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church with Pastor Michele Engh officiating. A visitation will be held from 11 a.m. until time of service. A private burial will take place at a later date at Old East Paint Creek Lutheran Church Cemetery in Waukon, IA.
The service will be livestreamed on Facebook through Immanuel Lutheran Church. http://facebook.com/viroqua.immanuel
Roth Family Cremation Center and Funeral Services is serving the family.