Beatrice(Gunderson)Matteson

Beatrice Gunderson was born January 17, 1921 in Elderon, Wisconsin to Otto and Minnie (West). She had two older brothers, Gordon and Fremont. Fremont died shortly after birth. She was born in the same house that her brother Gordon lived in most of his life.

Beatrice graduated from Wittenberg High School on June 13, 1939. Following graduation her mother drove her to Wausau to sign up for the nursing program at St. Mary’s Hospital. When they arrived, they discovered the quota had been met and agreed to go to the Normal School and sign up for two years of college.

On January 17, 1941 Beatrice met Floyd at a dance at the Eagles Club in Wausau.  On November 5, 1942 they eloped to Dubuque, Iowa. After they were married, they stopped in Madison where Floyd purchased her wedding ring.

Religion has been very important to Beatrice and has always been a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

Beatrice first taught at the Bungelow School in the town of Elderon and earned $80 per month, which included keeping the fires going, and doing the janitor’s work. In 1945-1946 she taught at the Fairview Rural School and earned $150 per month in addition to doing the janitor duties. Beatrice left teaching to stay at home while raising their children.

In 1963, Mr. Wickstrom, the school superintedent came to visit Beatrice and asked her to consider teaching special education. She had done some substitute teaching, but had not thought about going back full time. She chose to return to teaching. After five years she transferred to second grade, which she loved.

In 1974, at the age of 53, she received her degree in Elementary Education. Receiving her degree was one of he most gratifying moments in her life, outside of family.

In 1983, she retired from teaching with tears in her eyes. She loved teaching but it was time to give younger people a chance with new ideas.

It was time for Floyd and Beatrice to spend time together and they traveled for many years. Beatrice was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary for many years. Floyd & Beatrice donated land, which is where the VFW Post 8068 clubhouse remains today.

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