Ethna Joyce Sulmonetti Bergstrom passed from this world on October 10, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. She was born on April 12, 1937 in Jamestown, New York to Alice Eleanor Ann Duvall and Reverend Francesco Sulmonetti. Ethna was the youngest of two children, her older brother Earl remaining her close friend and confidante until his death earlier this year.
She attended public schools in Jamestown, NY and in New Castle, PA where her father served in various churches. Upon her father’s retirement in 1955, the family returned to Jamestown where she graduated from Jamestown High School. It was in this same year that she began working at Sears Roebuck where she met fellow employee and future husband of 60 years, Duane Bergstrom. They managed to maintain their relationship even as each attended colleges in different states: Ethna, a National Methodist Merit Scholar, at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and Duane, having recently completed military service in the US Navy, at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. They were married in 1957 and subsequently moved to Boston where they both graduated from Boston University. Ethna’s degree in music education allowed her to teach while Duane completed law school. Upon completion of law school the Bergstroms moved to Central Florida where they would remain and raise their family.
That family was foremost in her life. A devoted wife and mother of three children, she was always involved in their schools, their musical education, and their upbringing within the church. In 1960 Ethna and Duane joined First United Methodist Church of Orlando. Family, music and the church were the focal points of her life. She proudly served on the staff of First Church for 37 years, both as assistant music director, and as interim music director. She remained active in First United Methodist Church of Orlando for almost 60 years, and was a founding member of the Nu Class.
Between their connections through the church, Ethna’s social connections through the Rosalind Club, and Duane’s professional connections through the Rush, Marshall, Bergstrom law firm, Ethna and Duane cultivated a wide circle of friends: the Nu Class, the Christmas Club, Ethna’s book club—all were important sources of communion for them. Their love of communion among friends often culminated in epic moments of hospitality on Lake Catherine Drive: annual Easter egg hunts after church, afternoon volleyball games followed by evening oyster roasts, and numerous parties which ended with guests singing popular tunes as Ethna played the piano.
She is survived by their three children, Timothy Bergstrom, Kimberly Harcrow and Shannon Bergstrom-Peleaz, and their spouses, Emily Bergstrom, Rick Harcrow and Andres Peleaz, and four grandchildren, Madeline and Fletcher Harcrow, and Anna and Katie Bergstrom. Deeply loved by her family, we are truly blessed by the gift of her life. She will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church of Orlando, Bergstrom Memorial Fund in memory of Ethna J. Bergstrom.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 am on October 19 at First United Methodist Church of Orlando. A private graveside service will be held at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Gotha, FL. Arrangements entrusted to CAREY HAND COLONIAL FUNERAL HOME, 2811 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL 32806 407-898-2561 www.careyhandcolonialfh.com
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