Virgil Bergstad, 87, of Bend, Ore., passed away July 6, 2011, at St. Charles Hospital, surrounded by his family. Memorial services were held at the First Missionary Baptist Church on Reed Market Rd., in Bend on Saturday, July 9, 2011, with full military honors.
Virgil was born Oct. 31, 1923, in Hardin, Mont. He grew up on the Bergstad family ranch outside of Alexander, N.D. There he met his childhood friend and later sweetheart, Inga Leer. Virgil joined the Navy in April 1941, and served in World War II. He came home on leave and married Inga on May 13, 1944. Virgil served in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific while in the Navy. He was on the U.S.S. Mississippi and the U.S.S. Oxford, where he transported soldiers from the ship to the action. Virgil was honorably discharged from the Navy in October of 1945, after 4½ years of service to his country.
After Virgil returned from serving in the Navy, he went to work in construction and the copper mines and the oil fields in the Montana and North Dakota area while raising his family. He worked for many different oil companies. In 1966, he moved out to California, and then to Oregon in 1968, where he settled in working as a welder for Hilstrom’s Shipyard. All of Virgil’s children lived in Oregon with him and Inga. In 1980, Virgil and most of his children and their families moved back out to North Dakota to work in the oil fields. They then moved back to North Bend, Ore., in the early 80s, where his children followed. Virgil finished his career working for Sause Brothers in Coos Bay until retiring. Everyone who ever worked with Virgil spoke very highly of him. He taught many what it meant to work. Virgil and Inga moved over to Bend, following their children, where they just recently celebrated their 67th anniversary.
Virgil had a strong faith and love for the Lord. He would be found with his Bible near his cribbage board, cards, and cup of coffee. He often read from the book of Psalm and Romans 12. He faithfully attended church and passed his faith on to his grandchildren. In his retirement, Virgil enjoyed many things. They all involved his kids and grandkids. He enjoyed golfing and gardening. He had a passion for gold mining. He loved to teach his grandkids how to pan for gold. For a time, Virgil tried ranching with his children. During this time, he ran Longhorn cattle, horses, pigs, and more. Virgil had a very special horse he loved to ride, “the old black mare.” Virgil was always there for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. When they needed someone, they always knew they could call on him.
Virgil is survived by his wife, Inga Bergstad; his four children: daughter, Marsha, son-in-law Bob Rasmussen, of Eugene, Ore.; daughter, Valarie, son-in-law John Shawl, of Prineville, Ore.; son, Walter Bergstad, of Bend; and son, Byron Bergstad, daughter-in-law Karen, of Tumalo, Ore.; his 19 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Virgil was preceded in death by his parents, numerous brothers and sisters, and two granddaughters.
Virgil was not only a husband, father, and grandfather, but also best friend. His wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were blessed to have him as a “best friend” also.