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Alyce Brimacomb of Austin, Minnesota, died Saturday, March 17, 2007, at “Our House” Care Facility in Austin.
Alyce Elizabeth Bond was born Dec. 9, 1922 in Osage, Iowa to Adrian and Elizabeth (Gunsallus) Bond. The family moved to the Austin area in 1932 and Alyce graduated from Austin High School in 1939.
She married Arvid Bergdale in 1941. He died in Italy in 1944 during World War II. She married Melvin Brimacomb in 1952. Melvin died in 1994.
Alyce was well-known in the Austin area for her exceptional catering service. She credited her high school days in domestic work in the Austin area as training for her catering business. She also worked for Hormel & Company for 35 years and, upon retirement, was in charge of the dining room and kitchen at what was then the Red Cedar Inn. During these years she also presented many cooking classes and shared her recipes and techniques. Alyce was also deeply involved in volunteer work, serving as a “Gray Lady” at the hospital and in anything that involved food at St. Olaf Lutheran Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Alyce enjoyed her community and traveling to wherever any of her family might be living. She loved people and a visit to Alyce’s home was always a feast for the mind and the body.
Alyce is survived by three daughters: Elizabeth (Harvey) Mohrenweiser, of Turner, Ore.; Jo Seabrook, of Lewes, England; and Suzanne Brimacomb of Victoria, Australia; three step-children, Robert (Ferneva) Brimacomb, of Burr Oak, Iowa; Richard Brimacomb, of Minneapolis, Minn.; and MaryAnn (Donald) Gothard of Mascoutah, Ill.; one brother, Gerald C. (Henrietta) Bond, of Byron, Minn.; a special niece, Pat Nelson, of Byron; 13 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; eight great-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her two husbands; her parents; two brothers; two sisters; a daughter-in-law; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service for Alyce will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 23 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin. There will be no visitation, friends are invited to visit with the family at lunch after the memorial service. Clasen-Jordan Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
The family requests no flowers. Memorials may be made in Alyce’s name to Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Hormel Historic Home in Austin, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa or the organization of your choice.
Alyce Brimacomb, 35-year plant employee of Hormel Foods in the refrigerated bacon slice department and Austin's consummate caterer, died March 17 at the age of 84.
Alyce's goal wasn't to simply feed her clients what they ordered on time, it was to enchant and amaze them. Some people show love with words or presents. Alyce showed love by doing everything in her power to make your party memorable for years to come.
To do that, you cannot show up in pants and a stained frock. You arrive in a neat, wraparound skirt, a crisp, white starched shirt with a hankie in the pocket, white shoes, nylons, and impeccable hair, done twice weekly. And you topped it off with a smile on your face. "She was very prim and proper, and she always wore a hat. Her shoes were shined. And she was just as happy as can be," said Kathy Askelson, fellow caterer.
Next, the table. "Plastic" was not in Alyce's vocabulary. Everything was served on gorgeous platters, plates and in bowls selected to showcase the food. The cutlery was sterling silver, polished to perfection, and her linens were beautiful and as immaculate as she was.
"Alyce was meticulous," said Jim Braaten, who worked for Alyce through high school and college. "Everything had to look good; people would appreciate it. Everything had a certain appeal to it."
Now, the food. Everything was sliced impossibly thin, and laid out neatly and with great care. Little meringue mushrooms delicately topped with powdered sugar, gorgeous wedding cakes with a unique almond flavor, and if you're going to set out nuts, no peanuts, please. And the pickles must be tiny.
"For my wedding, she didn't just make basic punch. She made a warm cider punch with orange liqueur, which she added in the basement of St. Olaf Church! Everything she did was extra-special," said Gretchen Ramlo.
Alyce treated her friends with the same extra effort, with a warm hospitality which made them feel special, loved, and worth it. When her friend, Evie Mohrfeld, was preparing for her Tulip Fest pilgrimage, Alyce showed up at her door with beautiful cookies in the shape of tulips, frosted in a plethora of colors appropriate to the flower. "I just loved doing it," Alyce told her.
The circle ladies of St. Olaf Church "would kill" to be in her circle, because the group didn't meet for the Christmas party in the church, like the other circles. It met in Alyce's home, where she served them a gourmet meal laid out on an elegant table. Alyce loved entertaining in her home, and cooking class attendees often found themselves invited to her home following the class.
Alyce's many other passions included volunteering at St. Olaf and Westminster Presbyterian churches, presenting cooking classes sponsored by the Austin Daily Herald, sharing her cooking and domestic wisdom at the Hormel Historic Home, and being a top-notch wife and mother to six children.
She also did the "Kitchen Page" for the Hormel news magazine in the 1980s, which involved preparing the food for photography, and providing the recipes and text.
Alyce is survived by three daughters, Elizabeth (Harvey) Mohrenweiser, Jo Seabrook, and Suzanne Brimacomb; three step-children, Robert (Ferneva) Brimacomb, Richard Brimacomb, and MaryAnn (Donald) Gothard; one brother, Gerald C. (Henrietta) Bond; 13 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; eight great-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by two husbands; her parents; two brothers; two sisters; a daughter-in-law; and two grandchildren.
By Jackie Wambach Holstrom/Austin Daily Herald