Bernice L. Alger, 89

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, June 16, 2022

Bernice L. Alger, 89

Bernice (Bernie) Lavonne Alger, 89, of Austin went to heaven at St Mary’s Hospital, Rochester, Saturday evening June 4th, 2022.

Bernie was born Sept 1st, 1932 to Erving Anthony and Marie Catherine (Schwartz) Brown at her grandparent’s farm outside Rose Creek, MN. She spent her formative years helping her dad run the family farm and helping her mom raise her siblings. It was here she developed her love for animals, “critters” as she called them, her creative problem solving skills and her lifelong nature to take care of everybody she loved. She was her dad’s helper at the young age of 6 when the family farm was purchased as they couldn’t afford to hire help. She would tell stories of hitching up horses that were much larger than her and helping birth animals. She also learned to play accordion and would play for social events with her cousins Dar and Duane Nelson. She graduated in 1950 from Rose Creek High School as class Secretary-Treasurer and a member of the cheerleading squad, chorus, and drummer in the band.

After high school she worked at Thill Implement as bookkeeper/secretary until 1962. Besides honing her accounting skills, her proudest moments at Thill’s were of proving a female knew her way around farm equipment and typing all the correspondence sent to the state capitol that eventually got the bridge over Interstate 90 north of Rose Creek constructed. In 1959 she met Richard (Dick) Alger who was working as a salesman with McKesson and Robbins pharmaceuticals living in Austin. He nicknamed Bernice, “Bernie”, and also lovingly called her “Sunshine”. The farmer’s daughter and the traveling salesman were married June 25th, 1960 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Rose Creek. They continued to move with his career to Marshall, MN, Edina, MN and Madison, WI. Wanting to plant roots for their family, they returned to Austin and started their 30 year hardware business.

Email newsletter signup

Her biggest joy in life was supporting her loved ones. She was the rock her family, starting with her parents, leaned on. She threw herself into whatever her family’s latest interests were. This could be challenging as Dick was always wanting to try new things; she might put up a fight at first but eventually would come around and fully embrace whatever new adventure was ahead. Packing for camping, fishing, and houseboat trips became an art form to her. She learned how to ski in her forties when her kids took up the sport and spent many weekends on the slopes. She and Dick went to the Sturgis Motorcycle rally for many years after they became empty-nesters. In her sixties, she proudly rode her own bike in Sturgis one year, only to decide she preferred riding behind Dick on his bike. She enjoyed the many garage sales she would do with her sister Joanne; it showcased two of her strengths: organizing and stretching the dollar. She started every day with coffee and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, cutting out articles she thought would be helpful or interesting to others. She loved anything having to do with animals especially vet shows like Dr. Pol. Bernie will always be remembered for her big smile, big hugs and especially the big lipstick print she would leave on the cheeks of her loved ones.

Bernice is preceded in death by her husband, Richard and her parents, Erving and Marie Brown. She is survived by daughter, Caroline Marie (James) Just of New Hope, MN; son, Jay Richard (Colette) Alger of Lakeville, MN; grandchildren, Logan Jay, Landon Carl and Riley Clare Alger all of Lakeville, MN; and siblings, Richard Brown of Rose Creek, MN; Joanne Fox of Austin, MN and Larry Brown of Rochester, MN.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, June 25th, 2022 at 10:00 AM at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Rose Creek with visitation held one hour prior to the service starting at 9:00 AM. Interment will be at St Peter’s Cemetery in Rose Creek.

Condolences may be left online at

In lieu of sending flowers, a memorial donation can be made to The Hormel Institute for Cancer Research in Bernie’s honor.