Berit Johannessen, our Mom, was born to Klaus and Anna Hem in Oslo, Norway. Mom was a vibrant 94 year old who always had a smile on her face. She died in her home with her family by her side on Sunday December 8th, 2019.
Mom grew up on cross country skis, loved doing gymnastics, sewing and knitting. She loved numbers and math and enjoyed following the stock market. Recently she shared that as teenagers, she would do our Dad/her husband of 61 years, Dr. Leif B. Johannessen's (d. 2009), math assignments and he would write her English essays. They were high school sweethearts living through five years of Nazi occupation in Norway.
Mom was stoic, humble, incredibly kind and 120% supportive of her husband, their five children, their spouses, family and friends. She was genuinely sweet, so appreciative, enjoyed eating good food and being with her family. We were so proud of her courage and independence, living in her own home and taking good care of herself. She cultivated deep friendships and was so loved by all who knew her.
Our Mom loved being outdoors especially long walks in her woods and cross country skiing. Mom taught us the beauty and peace of sitting on a stone wall in the sunshine eating an orange in the winter woods. She was fiercely proud of her homeland Norway, her heritage and Norwegian culture. She had a strong faith in God. She was a charter member of Grace Lutheran Church in Needham, Massachusetts, and a long time member of UCC, Wakefield, New Hampshire. Her beautiful soprano voice blessed many choirs in churches and in Clearlakes Choral. She loved listening to music and singing.
Berit is survived by her older sister Eva Eriksen and other relatives in Norway. Berit will be fondly remembered by her children and the entire family. Her children include Erik (Constance) of Chester, CT; Lars (Karen Solstad) of Amesbury, MA; Nils (Jodie) of Plymouth, MA; Ingrid (Mark Albee) of Wonalancet, NH and Sigrid (Mitch Ganem) of New York City. She also will be fondly remembered by her twelve grandchildren and spouses and eight great grandchildren. She will be missed by her many friends.
A celebration of Berit's life will be held at a later date to be announced. For those wishing to contribute in Berit's memory, please consider Camp Calumet Lutheran, United Congregational Church of Wakefield and the Wakefield Food Pantry.
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