Elizabeth Gersey - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

September 12, 1921 - December 16, 2014

Elizabeth Jayne (BJ) Gersey, age 93, a resident of Richfield, MN for 60 years, was a native of Duluth, MN.  She was the first woman to join the Navy as a WAVE from that city during WWII.  In Sept. of 1942, she attended Naval Radio Training School at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She was stationed at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL, where she served 3 years as a Radioman and Air Traffic Controller, achieving the rank of First Class Petty Officer.  In 1945 she married her husband of 55 years, Jon Gersey, also a First Class Petty Officer.  They raised their family and spent their remaining years in Richfield, MN.  In her business career, BJ was Administrative Assistant to the presidents of B. Dalton, Bookseller; Target Stores; and Dayton Hudson Corporation.  After retirement in 1984, she chaired Target's retiree organization and served as secretary on the Executive Committee of the 10,000 Lakes Unit #37 of WAVES National, and remained very active in women veteran affairs. Preceded in death by her husband, Jon; parents, Frances and Frank Hughes; and sister, Marilyn Rousseau.  Survived by son, Thomas (Vicki) Gersey; daughter, Leslie Bentley; sister, Janice (William) Drigans; grandchildren, TJ Gersey, Shea Savage and John Greven; great-grandchildren, Thomas and Austin Greven; and many loving nieces and nephews.


  1. Susan Ziesmer Hall says:

    What a great life she had and such an asset to the world. Great sense of humor. I remember when I got my drivers license she nicknamed me Barney Oldfield. Willed be missed. My condolences to the family.

  2. Kathy Van Bogaert says:

    To my dearest Aunt B.J. you were a trail blazer in life for all women. I thank you!!
    May you rest in peace with Uncle Jon.
    Happy Trails my dear Aunt. Love, Kathy

  3. Florence Van Bogaert says:

    To My dear Sister In-Law
    A Mothers love never dies, and all those who touched her life live in her heart.

  4. Kathy Van Bogaert says:

    Dearest Aunt B.J.
    I always looked at you as a trail blazer for all women. I’d look at you and always thought of someone who really accomplished such great things in life.
    Now, you may rest with Uncle Jon and maybe they juuusssst may need some help upstairs.
    You were a trail blazer for all women. Thank You
    Lovingly, Your niece, Kathy

  5. Steve Jedlund says:

    I’m sure the memories of BJ and her great smile and laugh will be with her family always. As a kid growing up with Tom and Leslie on 68th and Vincent, she was one to remember. Looking back she always made you feel special and welcome. When I moved back to Richfield in ’86 and I would run into her around town, she still made me feel special and welcome. Sitting with a few years ago at a Rotary Veterans luncheon, it was the same. She was a special lady a lady to be remembered. May her life and memory bring all her family and friends much Joy.

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