She was born June 8, 1921 to Fred and Rae (Constance) Hays in Lamar, Mo. After training as a nurse at Kansas City General she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in 1942. She was assigned to the surgical section of the 46th General Field Hospital in North Africa from 1943 to 1944. Hap, as she was then nicknamed, married George Bergwall of Cambridge, Minn. in Oran, Algeria in 1944. After the war they moved to St. Paul, Minn. where George completed his degree at Hamline University. The couple, with their daughter and four sons moved to Red Wing in 1956 when George was hired by the Red Wing Shoe Company. George died of ALS in 1981.
Hap and friends opened River Peddler Antiques in the St. James Hotel in 1981 and after the shop closed in 2001 they continued making estate appraisals for five more years. Hap learned to drive at the age of 60 and thereafter was constantly on the road until she gave up her license in 2009. She was an active member of the First Methodist Church since moving to town and was invited into PEO (Chapter P) Sisterhood in 1969. She volunteered at the Red Wing Area Food Shelf and the Goodhue County Historical Society and she took up George’s seat on the Red Wing YMCA board of directors. Hap could always be counted on to pitch in and was surprised with the Jaycees Active Service Award in 1992. Her recuperative powers were extraordinary, and she was able to bounce back from a fused neck, a kneecap removal, triple and quadruple bypass surgeries 17 years apart and two pacemaker implants. A severely broken leg in 2001 really cramped her style and a stroke in 2010 left her housebound for the rest of her life.
She is survived by three sons, John Andrew (Marie) of Ortonville, Minn. Richard of Red Wing, Minn. and Kenneth (Barbara) Bergwall of Cambridge, Minn.; seven grandchildren, Jennell, Jeramy, Aljona, Raini, Raiko, Natalie and Nathan; and seven great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her husband; one daughter, Joan Bergwall; one son, William Bergwall; two brothers, Bill and Garrett Hays; and two sisters, Margaret Reed and Vivian Adams.
Memorial service will be Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, at 11 a.m. at First Methodist Church in Red Wing with Rev. Hugh Stephenson officiating. Burial will be at Fish Lake Cemetery at a later date. Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 at Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel. Memorials are preferred to the Red Wing YMCA, The Red Wing Environmental Learning Center, The American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society.
Arrangements with the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Red Wing.