Gerd Lillian Nilsen Montgomery
July 16, 1938 - November 20, 2020
Daughter to Henry and Elsa Petterson. Sister to Arild Petterson. Mother to Tone and Paul Nilsen. Grandmother to Paul, Nicholas, Jeremy and Dillon and a great grandmother to their children. Widow to Dag Nilsen and Jack Montgomery. A proud Norwegian American immigrant.
Her story is a remarkable one. Born in Oslo, Norway she was just two years old when the Nazi occupation began. She has stories of bombings, mandatory curfew, having no food, and being under the threat of death without her or her families compliance.
She also had beautiful stories about growing up with her best friends. Inger, Eva and Berit. Their relationship would span a lifetime and half the globe; creating lasting friendships through multiple generations.
Gerd would grow up with her future husband Dag, they would move on to the United States in the 1960s in an effort to make a better life for themselves. Dag's business ventures drove them across the country but they settled in California in the 1980s.
Paul and Tone found their partners in Southern California where Gerd's first grandchild Paul was born. Nicholas and Jeremy would come soon after. Many years later she was blessed with her last grandchild Dillon.
Craving a slower, safer lifestyle Dag would move for the last time in 1989 taking with him his wife, daughter, and Grandson Nicholas to The Foothills of Cameron Park. It was there Gerd was the epitomy of a Norwegian Grandmother - baking amazing Holiday treats and showering her Granchildren with affection whenever possible. They made many friends in the area, Dag and Gerd would travel the world bringing back gifts for their Grandson Nicholas who they helped raise.
Dag would pass away from Cancer in 1997. Gerd found Love again with an iconic American cowboy type and master bajo player an Army Veteran, Jack Montgomery. They too would travel, but never strayed far and lived their lives in Northern California until they both passed a month apart from each other. They would take care of each other in the most difficult time of their lives mourning their beloved former spouses as well as aging together and both suffering from dementia.
Gerd was a loving person, yet firm and stubborn to her core. She loved to garden, adored babies and animals. She loved her Norwegian heritage but never regretted leaving. She became an American citizen in 1999 after years of following the application process. She was an avid bowler, an accomplished Crazy Eights card player, and a big fan of Scrabble. She had the opportunity to spend many wonderful days with her great Granddaughter Chloe, and those were the some of her happiest moments.
She will be missed deeply and remembered fondly. She is no longer in pain, and in a better place with my grandfather and our family.
A very special thank you to May Abrahamsen. Who was more than a cousin to Gerd but a trusted family member and confidant who helped our family so much through the years.
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