Avis M. Herseth, 95, a 66-year resident of Oak Park, died at home on June 19, 2015 after a short illness. The long time spouse of Adolph “Bud” Herseth, to whom she was married for 69 years, prior to his death in 2013, the couple made their home in Oak Park beginning in 1949, shortly after he accepted the position of first trumpet in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
An accomplished musician in her own right (she met her future husband in the grade school band, where they both were part of the trumpet section), she was raised in Bertha, Minnesota, and attended Concordia College (MN) prior to graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in history and library science in 1942. She taught school in Minnesota, until she and Bud were married in September, 1943. Later, she received a master’s degree in Library Science from Rosary College (now Dominican University), and became a cataloger in the Rosary library for over 20 years.
She was also very involved in Oak Park community affairs, from the League of Women Voters, to both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts at Lincoln School and the PTA. She served as a member and secretary of the Oak Park Library Board when the original Scoville Institute Library was replaced with a new library in the 1960s. She was a long- time supporter of the VMA and a proud member of the CSO Alumni Association, the Art Institute Associates, and the 19th Century Club.
She accompanied Bud when the Chicago Symphony began traveling domestically and internationally in the 1960s. They took many trips to Europe and 15 trips to Japan. She maintained her seat at the Thursday night CSO concerts for over 60 years — fourth row, right aisle of the first balcony — and it was with sadness that she ceased attending after Bud’s death in 2013. With Bud, she was also a regular for after-concert dinners at La Majada in Oak Park where they were among the longtime regular diners from the restaurants opening day. She also enjoyed Japanese dining in Chicago, and hosted her friends from the Japanese American Women’s Society. She met all of the famous composers and soloists of the late 20th century, and enjoyed all of them and the members of the CSO, and became known as Bud’s “tour guide” around the world.
Avis Herseth is survived by a sister, Marilyn Franklin; her daughter, Christine Hoefer and her three children, Erik Hoefer (Sue), Kurt Hoefer (Cindy), and Elizabeth (Beth) Briggs; her son Stephen (Mary Jo) of River Forest and their two daughters, Elizabeth and Carolyn; her daughter-in-law Judith Ochiltree (the late Charles) Herseth, and their daughter Margaret; seven great-grandchildren and numerous cousins.
Services for family and invited friends will be held on Saturday morning at Dreschler Brown & Williams in Oak Park. A reception honoring her life will be held at her son’s home in River Forest on Saturday afternoon.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts to either the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or Merit Music Chicago, in support of Merit’s celebrated trumpet ensemble, which Avis supported.