COOPERSTOWN – Erna D. Richards, forever remembered for her love of her family and her Norwegian heritage, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family early Friday morning, August 27, 2021, at her daughter’s home in Roseboom. She was 97.
Born May 6, 1924, in Alversund, Norway, Erna Dagny Hovik was the youngest child of Hans Knutsen Hovik and Hanna Teodora Ekeland Hovik. At the age of four, she and her family immigrated to the United States and settled on Long Island. She grew up in Huntington, and always enjoyed telling stories of the fun times she had while growing up there.
She was first married to Thorbjorn “Toby” Haugland Bergene and they had four children: Theodore, Gregory, Steven, and Katrina. Following their divorce, Erna met and married Bruce J. Richards, a Cooperstown Native Son, and they enjoyed 25 years of marriage until his sudden passing on May 8, 1999.
Erna started her working life at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City, and then spent the remainder of her career in the food services department at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown.
Always proud of her Norwegian heritage, she loved sharing stories of her native land. She was a
spirited Viking woman who was known as mom, grandma and GG!
The most important part of Erna’s life was her family. She loved them more than words can state. She always wanted what was best for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A caring person, she was always looking out for everyone’s best interests, and wanted everyone to be happy and healthy. She was truly an amazing person who will be thoroughly missed by every life she touched.
Erna is survived by her four children, Theodore H. Bergene and wife, Mary of Oswego, Gregory Bergene and wife, Susan of Cooperstown, Steven T. Bergene and wife, Jeannette of Apex, N.C., and Katrina A. Cade and husband, Stanley of Roseboom; 11 grandchildren, Christopher Bergene and wife, Sara, Jon Bergene and companion, Amy Glerum, and Kimberly Franzt and husband, Dennis, Kristin Ellen Bergene and fiancée James McDonald, Hanna Joy Bergene and partner, Henry Bauer, Karissa Dagny Bergene, Kayley Rane Bergene and Kyle Thor Bergene, and Kassandra Cade-Laymon and husband, Craig, Joshua Cade and wife, Amanda, and Tyler Cade and wife, Erica; and 12 great-grandchildren, Collin and Brianna, Jenna and Mia, Sydney and Dennis, Caden and Eliana, Kristopher and Hunter, and Addilynn and Decan.
Two stepdaughters, Deborah Lints and Mary Killmeier and their family further survive her.
Her parents and all of her siblings preceded her in death; she was the youngest. Friends paid their respects Tuesday, August 31, 2021, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown.
A funeral service was held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown, with Rev. Ronald Fralick officiating. Interment followed in the Fly Creek Valley Cemetery in Fly Creek.
Memorial donations may be directed to the Cooperstown Emergency Squad, PO Box 322, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.