Bergliot Johanne (BJ) Larsen Garner
March 5, 1918 - November 16, 2010
Bergliot Johanne (BJ) Larsen, was born in Trondheim, Norway. At age 7, she immigrated to the United States with her parents, Johannes and Bertilie Larsen, sister, Solveig, and brother,
Andrew. Prior to leaving Norway, BJ and her family lived on Ona Island, off the coast of
Norway, where her father was keeper of the lighthouse. BJ would tell the story of taking coffee to her father at the lighthouse and then jumping into his arms and "there I would be in my
father's arms in the most beautiful place in the world".
Upon arrival in the United States, the Larsen family settled in the Chicago area. BJ knew no English when she entered elementary school, but soon mastered not only the language but
excelled in all her academic studies. She attended Northwestern University and her studies prepared her for hospital administrative work. BJ moved to Medford, Oregon in the early 1950's and became the administrator of Medford Community Hospital. She served in that
capacity for over six years and in 1954, was instrumental in the formation of the hospital
auxiliary. BJ worked on establishment and planning for the new Rogue Valley Memorial
Hospital and was its first administrator in 1958. That fall she married Walter Garner, a local business owner and civic leader in the community. BJ resigned her administrative position to become a full time homemaker and stepmother.
BJ stayed active in the medical community in the Rogue Valley and was involved in the
mission and work of several Jackson County organizations including service on the board of directors for the Salvation Army. She was on the founding board of directors for Community Home Care, Jackson County Homemaker and Service, and Day Spring Hospice. BJ, along with her friends Peg Crowley, Jan Murphy, and Margaret Kengla, helped found the first Hospice program in the valley. In addition, she was a volunteer and strong advocate for the mission and work of Medford's Community Health Center, the Rogue Valley YMCA, and the American Red Cross.
BJ was preceded in death by her husband, Walter Garner, her sister, Solveig Larsen, of
Chicago, and brother, Dr. Andrew Larsen, of McCloud, Californa. She is survived by her
stepchildren, Walter Garner, Ann Culver, and Susan Gallino and her brother's children, Dr. John Larsen, Linda Larsen Dewey, and Kari Larsen, and 5 grandchildren, David Garner, Sarah Gustafson, Shelley Hutchinson, Karen Porter, and Greg Gallino, and 8 great-grandchildren.
BJ was always ready to provide assistance or solace to anyone who needed it. She had a strong Christian faith and was a long time member of Medford United Methodist Church. A
celebration of BJ's life will be held on Saturday, January 8, 2011, at 2:00 p.m., at the Medford United Methodist Church, 607 West Main Street, with a reception to follow. The family wishes to express their thanks and appreciation to the staff of Arbor Place Senior Community, Asante Hospice, and Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Community Health Center, 19 Myrtle St., Medford, OR 97504, Salvation Army, P.O. Box 757, Medford, OR 97501, Asante Hospice, 2960 Doctors Park Drive, Medford, OR 97504.