Rudy Bertram, age 90, of Herman, Minnesota passed away from a ruptured aortic aneurysm on December 2, 2020 at the Steven’s Community Medical Center in Morris, MN surrounded by his three children.
A Private Family Funeral Service will be held Monday, December 7, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Eden Reformed Church in Herman with Rev. Harrison Newhouse officiating.
A public visitation will be held Sunday, December 6th from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at Eden Reformed Church. Visitation will continue Monday morning one hour prior to service time at the church.
While maintaining social distancing guidelines, we are now able to gather for visitations and services. The use of face masks by attendees is required. For those who prefer or require continued precautions, a live stream and recording of the service will be available at the bottom of this page.
Interment will be in Eden Reformed Cemetery, rural Herman. Pallbearers will be Rudy’s grandchildren: Isaac, Elliot, Emma, Connor, Annika, Abby, Noah, Henry, Owen W., Owen B., Lydia, and Lucy.
Rudolf “Rudy” Walter Bertram was born on June 7, 1930 at the family farm outside of Herman, Minnesota to Herman and Tena (Bartell) Bertram. He was baptized and confirmed in the Eden Reformed Church. He attended a country school and then attended Herman High School, graduating in 1948.
After high school he attended a summer session at Ellendale, ND, becoming a “nine week wonder” who was then eligible to teach elementary students. His first teaching job was a one-room schoolhouse in Ashly, ND where he taught for one year before deciding to attend college. He attended Northwestern College in Iowa for two years and completed his social studies education degree in 1957 at Lakeland College in Wisconsin. After college he took a teaching job in the Alaska territory. His salary of $5,700 per year was the highest in his graduating class. He flew to Anchorage and then needed to borrow money to complete his journey to Candle, an Eskimo community, where he would be teaching. He taught in many places in Alaska, including Candle, Fort Yukon, Bethel, Chistochina, Annette Island Coast Guard Base, Coffman Cove and Thorne Bay. Rudy’s favorite school was the Coast Guard base on Annette Island where he was the principal as well as a teacher. Rudy even got to teach Kristi’s Kindergarten class and received accolades from the Coast Guard captain who said that people asked to come to the remote base at Annette, because the school was so good.
While teaching in Bethel he met and married Sara Shonts. Together they had three children: Penny, Kristi, and Todd. He greatly loved his children and raised them as a single father. His twelve grandchildren adored him. They loved going to the farm, as it is a place of laughter, “farm club” memories and Grandpa’s cooking.
While living in Alaska, the family would often spend summers in Minnesota with Rudy’s brother Les and his family or at his lake cabin on Pomme de Terre Lake. Rudy retired from teaching in Alaska in 1978 and moved back to Herman to live on the family farm where he had grown up. He kept his passion for teaching all his life. After retirement, he was a substitute teacher, one act play director and school board member. Over the years, he hosted twenty-seven foreign exchange students from all over the world.
He was best known in Herman for his restaurants. He started with the Busy Bee Drive Inn for several summers and then opened a full restaurant, which may have had a name but everyone just called it Uncle Rudy’s. Rudy had many interests and never tired of learning new things. He was a great cook and an avid gardener. He was a natural performer with a great singing voice and a talent for acting and directing. He loved tinkering on the farm, reusing whatever he could find to creatively mend things, rarely needing to purchase any parts.
He was a lifelong member of the Eden Reformed Church where he taught Sunday School, was a consistory member and was the director of the famous Christmas Eve Sunday School program. He had a passion for sharing and teaching God’s word. He loved his Bible Study at the Pullman House where he made many dear friends.
He remained active even into his 90th year, continuing to garden, bake, raise chickens, and do his chores of gathering eggs and feeding the animals. He even baked three loaves of bread on Monday, before he went into the hospital. His family is grateful for the independence he retained even so late in his life, and that he was blessed to spend his last days at the farm he loved before departing this world, practically stepping from home to heaven.
Rudy is survived by his children: Penny (Paul) Sweere of Frazee, MN; Kristi (Wayne) Werner of Perham, MN, and Todd (Stephanie) Bertram of Springfield, MN; his grandchildren: Emma (Riley) Kaiser, Abby Sweere, Henry Sweere, Lydia Sweere, Lucy Sweere, Isaac Werner, Elliot Werner, Annika Werner, Owen Werner, Conner Bertram, Noah Bertram and Owen Bertram; sister-in-laws: Darlene (Les) Bertram, Darlene (Ted) Bertram; numerous nieces, nephews and extended family
Rudy was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Tena Bertram; sister Helena and her husband Harold Hilbrand; brothers: Henry and his wife Maryann; Herman and his wife Jo; Fred and his wife Marvis; Gary and his wife Roberta; Les, Ted and Ervin.
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