Bernice Garnaas Belgum


Bernice Garnaas Belgum, longtime Moorhead, Minnesota piano teacher, died on July 5, 2022 in Bloomington, MN. She was 97 years old.

With a visitation at 10:00 a.m., a memorial service will be held on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 11:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis (live online,; a lunch will follow. After cremation, burial at Riverside Cemetery, Moorhead, will occur at a later date.

Bernice Ione Garnaas was born on June 23, 1925 to Tollof Bjorn Garnaas and Anna Pauline Peterson Garnaas in Sheyenne, ND. She was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church there, and also worked in the family dry goods store. After graduating from Sheyenne High School, she enrolled at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. She earned a degree in home economics and biology in 1948, and taught elementary school in Sheyenne for a year, and then taught home economics and science at Balaton, MN.

Bernice married Joel Norman Belgum on September 2, 1949 in Sheyenne. They farmed for three years near Kensington, MN, and then moved to Moorhead. Bernice was an excellent homemaker and mother to her four children. She enjoyed her grandchildren, entertaining, and the family lake cabin on Potato Lake. She loved flowers, trees and birdwatching. She was very proud of her Norwegian and Swedish roots. Bernice and Joel supported Concordia College extensively, attending many concerts and men’s and women’s basketball. Two of her children, and three of her grandchildren studied at Concordia. She loved hot fudge sundaes and playing whist, too.

Bernice was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead, teaching Sunday school and vacation Bible school, serving with Trinity Women, Women’s Circle, and Couples’ Bible Study, which Bernice and Joel attended for over 50 years.

Bernice taught piano in her home for 47 years. Her students loved and respected her for her patience and understanding. Students arriving for a lesson often found cookies waiting, as did parents at recitals. She was a member of the Fargo-Moorhead Piano Teachers Association and the Moorhead Friends of the Library.

She and Joel moved to the Twin Cities in 2013. They lived at The Wellington in St. Paul, and then Bernice at Breck Home in Bloomington. Bernice’s family expresses sincere thanks and great admiration for the staff in the care and support they provided to Bernice and her family at both the Breck and Wellington residences. They enjoyed Bernice for her wry comments, her sunny disposition, and her appreciation for their care.

She is survived by her daughter Jane Belgum (Dan Steen), Minneapolis, MN and their children, Natalie, Benjamin, and Matthew; and by son Dan Belgum, Morris, MN and his sons Jacob and Erik; and by daughter Joyce Belgum (John Gabbert), Winona, MN and their daughters, Marijka (Kevin) Muras with their children, Oliver and Ophelia, St. Paul, MN, and Rea Hobbs with her sons, Kendrick and Owen, La Grange Park, IL; and by daughter-in-law Colleen Belgum of Minneapolis, MN and her daughters, Heidi (Matt) Allred and their daughters, Amelia and Sophie, Onalaska, WI, and Holly Belgum, Edina, MN.

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband Joel Belgum, her sister Helen Garnaas, Minneapolis, MN, her brother Paul Garnaas, Bettendorf, IA, and by her son Doug Belgum, Remer, MN.

Memorial gifts may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead, to ELCA World Hunger, or to The Nature Conservancy.

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