Clara M. Bjerke Stewart, 103
Memorial services for Clara Stewart, of Starbuck, were held Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, at the Glenwood Retirement Home in Glenwood with the Rev. Sarah Taylor officiating. Burial was in Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.
Clara Marie Chittum, the fourth child of Louis and Martha (Christianson) Chittum, was born on Aug. 21, 1908, at Decatur, Ill. After the death of her mother, she went to live with relatives, Mr. and Mrs. O.H. Slette of Lowry, where she grew up and attended school. She was baptized in Decatur, Ill., in infancy and confirmed into the Lutheran faith at Dovray at the age of 14.
She attended grade school in Lowry and graduated from high school in Westbrook in 1925. She attended St. Olaf College in Northfield from 1925-1926. She graduated from Fairview Hospital School of Nursing in 1930 and graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis in 1939. She later took graduate classes at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and Saint Cloud State.
Her employment included general staff supervisor for several years at Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis, Nursing Arts Instructor at Grafton Deaconess Hospital in Grafton, N.D., for two years, Director of Nursing at Trinity Hospital in Minot, N.D., for two years, owned and operated Glenwood Book and Gift Shops for four years, taught English at Kensington Public Schools for one year and was a County Superintendent of schools in Pope County from 1959-1967.
Clara was a member of the American Lutheran Church, American Nurses Association, American Red Cross Nurses Association and Augsburg Alumni and University of Minnesota Alumni.
She was united in marriage to Sigurd Bjerke, of Hoople, N.D., in 1942. They had two sons, Karl Peter and Daniel. Sigurd died in 1956. In 1974, Clara married Ralph Stewart, of Starbuck. The couple made their home in Starbuck. In 1992, they moved to Holly Ridge, where they continued to live until Ralph's death in 1995. Clara moved to the Glenwood Retirement Village in 1998, where she lived until the time of her death.
Clara died on Friday, Sept. 2, 2011, at the Glenwood Retirement Home in Glenwood, having lived to reach the age of 103 years.
She was survived by one son, Daniel (Debra) Bjerke of Saint Louis Park; grandchildren, Christine (Michael) Becker of Minnetonka, Eric Bjerke of St. Louis Park, Steven Bjerke of Redmond, Wash., Peter Bjerke of St. Louis Park and Elizabeth Bjerke of St. Louis Park; and daughter-in-law, Theron Bjerke of Savage, Mont.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, Sigurd Bjerke and Ralph Stewart; one son, Karl Peter Bjerke; her parents; her foster parents; her grandparents; one sister, Marjorie Voigt; and two brothers:, Rolland and Harold.
Serving as pallbearer for the service was Clara's son, Dan Bjerke. Amy VanZee served as organist for the service. Starbuck Funeral Home in Starbuck was in charge of the arrangements.