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 Eli Fougner


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Anna Kristinia Bergstedt

 

Eli Fougner

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Eli was born on February 26, 1898, the child of Anna Kristina Bergstedt. Her father von Hirst was considered of a higher social class and did not marry her mother. As a single mother Anna was the sole support. She placed Eli in the care of a family who learned to love her and wanted to keep her. When Eli was fourteen and her mother married Gunnar Fougner, she went to live with them. The couple who had been keeping her was heartbroken when she left. Eli grew up in a lovely home in Oslo, an only child. Gunnar was an exceptional father to her. He was glad to have a daughter. Eli lived with them until both parents died.

At one point Gunnar bought a car. He didnít want Eli to drive it but she defied him and had an accident. Because of that he sold the car. She never drove again.

Eli worked at the Storebrand Insurance Company in Oslo until her retirement. As a young lady Eli was in love with a poor artist who couldnít afford to marry her. He later married a woman with money, but he didnít give up Eli. Their relationship continued for many years. She became a part of his family vacationing with his wife on the continent.

Every year Eli spent her vacation traveling to countries all over the continent. She spoke several languages and appreciated good art. Her home was full of original paintings. One of her pleasures was spending time at her mountain home.

Eli enjoyed walking. She walked everywhere. She said "During the daytime I always look down and never come home without found coins. At night I look up at the heavens and watch the stars."

Signe Solberg said that she remembers that Eli visited with them in Kvinestal and said that she very much appreciated the family that she had. She had a few good retired friends she lunched and played cards with each week. During the Second World War people could only have a certain number of square feet per person living in a home because homes were scarce as a result of the war. So that the German soldiers wouldnít come and live with them, they invited a milkmaid from the area of their mountain cabin to come and live with them and help in the home. She lived with them for many years, and when she got old Eli even helped nurse her until she died. In later years Eli sold the home because it was too much work to keep up the garden, the big house, and the walks shoveled. She moved into an apartment. After WWII when her cousins started going to Norway on missions for the Mormon Church and others went to Norway to visit, many stopped to see her. Eli was never interested in the message of the Mormon Church, but she welcomed her relatives.

We donít know when it began but she suffered with bouts of depression. Maria Kloogh corresponded with Helge Ekern, whose father was the nephew of Gunnar Fougner. He said that he and his family were very fond of Eli and had spent a lot of time with her through the years. He said that the younger generation learned to appreciate her and tried to help her after her parents passed on. She was always laughing and having fun and was the life of the party until her illness beset her. He said that he was sure that Eli understood that many people loved her. She struggled the last few years and he thought that it had to do with being born out of wedlock. Later, when she got sick, she was in a nursing home. She ate little and the last few years she only weighed eighty pounds. She spoke very little but her strong heart didnít want to give up. She died peacefully on May 21, 1993 at age ninety-five. Some family members (Karen and Greta) were with her. She wanted a quiet funeral. She was buried in the Western Crematorium in Oslo on June 2,1993.

Her niece Helen Bradshaw and husband Frank visited her in the hospital in 1988. She had been transferred to this hospital because she was so depressed. She was happy to see them but was very sad and discouraged. They visited for a while and then Helen asked if she would like Frank to give her a priesthood blessing. She said that she would like that very much. There were two other patients in the room. After giving Eli the blessing the man visiting his wife across from Eliís bed asked if Frank would give a blessing to his wife. Frank, of course, did. Then the little lady in the other bed asked if she could have a blessing too. This lady had had one of her legs amputated. Frank blessed her also, and everyone of them had tears in their eyes. As Helen and Frank were leaving, the man told them that after the blessing his wife had spoken for the first time in many days. She told him to go home, eat and watch television. He was very happy and appreciative.

Mor, Eli, and Berg in Norway

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