Winifred “Freddie” Mae Jorgensen
“Freddie” Jorgensen died peacefully at her Maravilla home in Santa Barbara, California on August 12, 2017. She was 103 years, 8 months, and 19 days old.
Born on November 24, 1913 in Minot, North Dakota, her birth name was Winifred Mae Bakeman. Freddie’s family had long roots in North America. Her great, great, great, great grandfather, Daniel Frederick Bakeman, was the last surviving soldier of the Revolutionary War. Her father was William Lucien Bakeman, Captain of the Minot Police Department; her mother, Minnie Pamelia Bakeman, was active in the Women’s Relief Corps, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Degree of Honor.
Freddie’s early years were marked with a lifelong association with “The Gerties,” a group of young women from Minot. Just out of high school, this sewing and social circle began. As the years went on and some members moved, they continued to be in touch with a communal letter they called a “Round Robin.” The letter began with one person writing and sending news on; the next added to it; with the last entry, a new one began. This communication continued for years and years. As of 2015, the last of the other “Gerties” died; now there are none.
In North Dakota, she met the love of her life on a blind date–Ove Woodrow Jorgensen. They married on December 24, 1939 and began a life of devotion and committed partnership. Their marriage lasted more than 64 years. Ove’s career, supported thoroughly by Freddie, took them to homes in Toledo, Ohio and Royal Oak, Michigan and Fort Wayne, Indiana. They enjoyed the Michigan woodlands and developed two treasured places—the first on the Pere Marquette River and the second property outside Branch, Michigan. With retirement, they spent the winter months at a Thunderbird Country Club home in Rancho Mirage, California.
With arrival in Fort Wayne in 1956, Freddie took up golf and played for forty years. While she was never a low scorer, she was consistent and dedicated. She played in tournaments at two country clubs of which she and Ove were members: the Fort Wayne Country Club and the Thunderbird Country Club. A hole-in-one is a big achievement among golfers: Freddie achieved two.
Throughout her life, Freddie was a devoted seamstress. She made dresses and coats for herself in the early years of marriage as well as costumes later for her two children—Peter Pan, bunnies, pirates, gypsies, Davy Crocket, Mrs. Santa Claus and more. She excelled with Pedi point, rugs, and needlepoint. Her intricate needlepoints are varied in subject and treasured by friends and family.
Freddie was preceded in death by Ove who died shortly after his 90th birthday in 2005. She is survived by Susan Jorgensen and her wife Alice Gillaroo of Santa Barbara, California; Jay Jorgensen and his wife Jane of Bloomington, Indiana; grandson Ben Jorgensen of San Francisco California; granddaughter Molly Jorgensen and her husband Nick Stevens of Winetka, Illinois and their son Ove Nicholas Stevens—a great grandson for Freddie.
Freddie recently said that she felt her longevity was because she was always surrounded by good and loving people. She has enjoyed the friendship of many and the devotion of family. Her last years were especially blessed by the loving care of her support team lead by Linda Macias. Freddie’s family is forever grateful to Linda, Lola Zaragosa, Sylvia Pereyra , Melly Valdez, Kathy Mata, Margaret Garcia, and Theresa Solis. And on her last day, she was surrounded by good, loving people.
Donations in Freddie’s name may be made to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation or Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana.