Kenneth Irving Jernberg was born July 18, 1927, to parents Forrest Edward and Anna (Johnson) Jernberg in Woodstock IL. He passed peacefully at his family home in the Geneva neighborhood at Lake Whatcom on Monday, April 18, 2022. All three of his children were at his side when he drew his last breath. He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Joyce Jernberg, the love of his life. She passed peacefully, also at home September 19, 2020.
There will be a memorial service for both Ken and Joyce on May 21, 2022, at 10:00 AM at First Presbyterian Church, 1031 N. Garden St., Bellingham, WA 98225.
Ken and his younger sister Louise (who recently preceded him in death) grew up in the Midwest, mostly in Chicago and Minneapolis with a brief stop in New Jersey. During the Second World War he was in the U.S. Coast Guard and was honorably discharged at the end of the war. He went to the University of Minnesota for undergraduate and medical school where he met his future wife Joyce Hanson. Ken and Joy got married In December of 1953 before heading to Harborview Hospital in Seattle for his internship and continuing at Children's Hospital where his training was in Pediatrics.
Although they both had Midwest roots, Ken and Joyce fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and made their home in Bellingham, WA, moving there in 1958. There was a brief time in the early 60s where Ken was the only pediatrician in Whatcom County. He started a clinical practice and served Saint Luke's and Saint Joseph's (now PeaceHealth) hospitals. Ken was an integral part of a growing and thriving medical community in Bellingham. After 35 years of serving his patients and their families, he retired from his medical practice in 1993. His friends and colleagues in the medical community were near and dear to him.
Soon after moving to Bellingham, Ken and Joyce found their home in the Geneva area on Lake Whatcom. This has been their family home for the past 63 years and here they raised their three children, Tim (Elizabeth), Brad (Heidi) and Susan (Doug). They welcomed and greatly loved their spouses and nurtured 7 grandchildren Ben (Melanie), Andrew, Katie (Manoj), Peter (Lina), Anna, Abby and Laura.
Mom and dad loved getting involved at the Firs Conference Center, Dad served on the board of directors and was a fixture as the camp doctor at camp firwood. He was a Rotarian and member of the Mount Baker ski patrol. They became avid sailors and started and or joined multiple book clubs, discussion groups and bible studies. They loved hiking and attending concerts at Western or going to hear the Vancouver Symphony. We must have had at least 5 different Rotary exchange students from at least four different continents. Hospitality was job number one at the Jernberg house. Friends and neighbors, family, and cousins galore, Let's get together with a big fire in the picnic house fireplace and have some s'mores! And more songs please!
Dad had a love of nature, science, philosophy, God and humanity. Dad was a humble man who didn't always need to be right. He sent us off to research in the encyclopedia when our dinnertime conversations would pile questions upon questions. He seemed interested in everyone and everything. One of his favorite words was “Glorious”. Frequently he would stop us in the middle of a ski run, look at Mount Shuksan full of alpenglow as the sun began to dip, and take great delight in the beautiful feast set before us. Then off we would go, racing for the hot chocolate! Multiple summer nights were spent with the whole family sleeping out on the deck under the stars and finding the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt. Did I mention that he had not one but two certified hole in one golf shots! Ken took a morning dip in the lake most days in the summer, a tradition he continued to age 90!
Both mom and dad had a vibrant and practical faith in God and his son Jesus. This faith informed their love for and interaction with all around them. Family, friends and community both near and far were always welcome and cared for. Whatever their children and grandchildren were doing or passionate about became their interest as well. They chased us all over the world (literally).
Dad was greatly loved, and we were greatly loved by him. He will be missed and remembered.
His children are grateful for loved ones, neighbors and friends who have drawn near to us during Mom and Dad’s last years. Your words of love and encouragement and tangible acts of kindness and help mean everything to us. We cannot mention all by name, but you know who you are and we love you. The deacons from FPC church, care givers from circle of life, the teams from Hospice and Peace Health have all been amazing, thank you!
The immediate family will be having a graveside service later this summer. Remembrances may be directed toward some of the organizations Mom and Dad were passionate about including:
Prison Fellowship, the Lighthouse Mission, First Presbyterian Church Bellingham, The Firs and Ingalls Creek Enrichment Center.