Dorothy M. Bergstrom

Dorothy M. Bergstron was born Dorothy M. Iraola on December 22, 1927, to Mark and Leona Iraola (Marudi) in Hoquiam, Washington. Mark immigrated to the Pacific Northwest via whaling ship, and Leona came via steamer to New York and cross-country train. In Hoquiam, the Iraola family grew to seven children, Dorothy being the middle child. The extended Iraola family included four brothers, Fred, Al, Frank, and Emil, and one sister, Margaret. Tony, the youngest brother, was lost early by drowning. Nieces and nephews include, Doug, Tony, Mark, David, Lisa, Crystal, and Steven.

The Iraolas were a close-knit, hardworking, outgoing family growing up during the Depression. Luxuries were nonexistent, but food was more than adequate and tasty beyond compare. Clam digging, cascara bark pealing, sports, playing in the woods and other ladylike endeavors kept the family entertained, and Leona made fabulous food. Dorothy inherited this precious skill and became a cook par excellence. All four brothers participated in WW II and all survived, becoming the Greatest Generation. Dorothy (homecoming queen) married Conrad Bergstrom (captain of the football team) in 1950. Following Conrad’s service in the USMC and Air Force, they produced two boys, Scott (1953) and Frank (1955).

Dorothy obtained a degree in nursing and practiced as a registered nurse in the operating room. One of her memorable anecdotes equated orthopedic surgeons to carpenters with clean tools.

The Bergstrom family lived in Hoquiam and Longview, Washington; Springfield, Oregon; and finally, Tacoma, Washington. Dorothy was a stickler for school attendance, ensuring the boys were in class by the afternoon of moving day. She had firm ideas on decisiveness, honor, dedication, self-reliance, and achievement – amongst other attributes. Her famous perfection of the stink-eye compelled compliance.

Following full careers in forest products and nursing, Conrad and Dorothy retired to Lake St. Clair in Olympia, where they built a home. The boys had completed higher education and entered successful careers in the fields of mineral production and engineering. Conrad passed away in 2018, soon after moving to Bonaventure of Lacey assisted living. Dorothy continued to live at their Bonaventure apartment until her death on March 4, 2023. Rest in peace Mom.

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