Gerd Abegglen passed away on June 18, 2009 in Medford, Ore. She was born Gerd Nilsson in 1919 in Stockholm, Sweden to her parents Karl Amandus Nilsson and Alice Matilda Nilsson. Gerd's father immigrated to the United States in 1926. Gerd completed her first year of formal education in Sweden before the family reunited in Chicago, Ill., in 1927. While in Chicago the family name was changed to Naverfelt.
After a few years in Chicago, the Naverfelt family moved to Los Angeles, Calif. There Gerd developed a lifelong interest in Native American art, culture and history. Gerd was a student at Los Angeles High School until her senior year. In 1938 she graduated from West High in Salt Lake City, Utah. She then returned to southern California where she attended Frank Wiggins Trade School and planned for a career in the fashion industry. Gerd's plans changed when she met her future husband at a dance, Hermann Abegglen, an emigrant from Switzerland. Gerd and Hermann married in 1940 and had a daughter, Annabelle.
In 1941, the new family purchased a home in Downey, Calif. Gerd worked as a meat wrapper in the butcher department of a supermarket while her daughter was school age. Gerd's hobbies included playing cards, camping and fishing. In her late 30s Gerd learned to drive a car so she could attend college. She received her bachelor of arts in 1962 from California State College Long Beach graduating magna cum laude. After college Gerd began her 24 year career at Elizabeth Street School in Cudahy, Calif. Gerd worked as a classroom teacher and as a resource teacher. She returned to school earning a Masters Degree in 1973 at California State University Long Beach. Gerd was especially active working with various programs specifically for Native American students. She enjoyed a lot of related traveling with her coworkers and friends. During this period of her life Gerd and her husband enjoyed many international vacations and both especially enjoyed visiting family in Europe. Retiring in 1986 Gerd continued to enjoy playing cards, traveling, crossword puzzles, bird watching, the Downey Historical Society and writing letters to the Los Angeles Times.
In 2006, Gerd reluctantly sold her beloved home of 65 years in Downey, Calif. She moved to Fountain Plaza in Medford, Ore., to live closer to her family. More recently she has spent time at Waterford Three Fountains rehabilitation center and Edgewood Home Care. Gerd's family is very grateful for the excellent care she received in these facilities.
Gerd was predeceased by her parents; her husband; and several beloved dachshunds. Surviving are her daughter,
Annabelle Abegglen Apodaca; granddaughter, Geneve (Randy) Spencer; great-granddaughter, Savannah (Adam) Fox; great-grandson Blake Spencer; and great-great-granddaughter, Denali Fox, all of Medford, Ore. Also surviving are her granddaughter, Colette Abegglen and Colette's husband, Hugh Snow, of N.C.
A joint service for Gerd and her husband Hermann will be scheduled at sea in 2010.