Kenneth John Bergum, 92, passed on November 7, 2017 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, Montana. He was born to Palma (Peters) and Theodore Bergum on July 1, 1925 at the family home in Bowman, North Dakota.
He was the eldest of four brothers, Jerry, Jack and Boyd. The family moved several times following Ted’s teaching career, finally settling in Winifred in 1937 when his father became the Superintendent of Schools.
As a teenager, Ken was active in band, basketball and football. He played in a band at country dances in the area. During the summers, he would leave the ranch and go to Miles City to work as a wool packer. He sent his earnings home
Ken and his dad purchased a ranch in 1943 where he worked for a year before joining the Army in August of 1944. He served in the Philippines where he played the trombone in the 24th Infantry Band. At the close of WWII Ken returned home and married his high school sweetheart, Beatrice Lechner, on December 1, 1946.
After one year on the ranch, they decided ranching and farming was not for them. Thanks to the GI Bill, Ken was able to go to college, first in Havre and then in Missoula, where he graduated from Pharmacy School. While in Missoula, his first son, Jim, was born. Their second son, Ron, was born in Butte, while Ken was working his first pharmacy job. Following moves to Bozeman and Havre, the family settled in Shelby, where their third son, John, was born. Ken was managing the Shelby Drug Co.
In 1963 the family moved to Helena, where Ken managed the Western Drug store. After 10 years Ken and Bea purchased the business and renamed it Bergum Drug, eventually adding a second location. In the early 1990’s Ken and Bea sold the business to their sons, Ron and Jim. In retirement they traveled, played golf and enjoyed their condo in Big Sky.
The community was important to Ken. He was involved in the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, SCORE, and the Shriners where he sang with the Chanters.
The family was saddened by the loss of Bea in April 2002. Their oldest son, Jim followed in December 2009. The sadness brought on by these great losses was softened by the gifts they left: children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a great-great grandchild.
In 2003, Ken’s life was brightened by his marriage to Eileen Hudson. For the next six years they split their time between Arizona and Montana. They were blessed by their expanded families. Eileen passed in 2009.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents Palma and Ted, brother Jerry, wives Bea and Eileen and son Jim.
He is survived by brothers Jack and Boyd, sons Ron (Connie) Bergum of Helena, Montana, and John (Mary) Bergum of Spokane, Washington. His grandchildren Jenni (Jon) Swartz, Melanie (John) Dayton, Jake (Michelle) and Kasey, William (Janel), Elizabeth, Sophie, Alan and Carl. Great-grandchildren include Kenneth, Tyler (Neenah), Seth Dayton; JT and Mia Swartz; Quay Smith-Bennett, Kaden Trettin and Bailey Bergum, and great-great grandson Kiercy Dayton. He is also survived by his good friend and companion Pat Johnson.
Special thanks go to Home Instead (Robin & Callie), Touchmark and St. Peter’s.
A memorial service celebrating Ken’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 13th at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, 3580 N. Benton Avenue. Military honors will be displayed immediately following the service on the south side of the church. A reception will follow the honors in the fellowship hall of the church. Graveside services will be held at a later date at the Winifred Cemetery in Winifred, Montana. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, 911 W. 5th Ave, Spokane, WA 99204.
Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Ken.