In August of last year, USA Today reported that Karen Bergen, the wife of pop-rock icon Bobby Vee, died of kidney failure at age 71. On Monday, Fox revealed that her husband, Bobby Vee, has died. He was 73-years-old.
Read on to learn about Karen Bergen, the wife of Bobby Vee.
1. She and Bobby Vee Were Married 51 Years
Karen Velline (nee Bergen) married Bobby Vee on December 28, 1963. The couple was married for 51 years before Bergen passed away from kidney failure on August 3, 2015.
One year before Bergen passed, The Star Tribute published an article titled, “Take good care of my baby: Bobby Vee and his wife celebrate 50 years.” The piece details how, in the midst of their respective illnesses, Vee and Bergen supported and loved one another.
Karen had a lung transplant shortly before the article was published, and had been using an oxygen tank for six years. Bobby, meanwhile, was struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease. The couple met in 1960 at a dance at the armory in Detroit Lakes, Bergen’s hometown. According to the Star Tribute, Karen hoped to study early-childhood development at college, and Vee was already a successful rockstar when they met.
2. She Died of Kidney Failure in August 2015
Bergen passed away at age 71 at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis. Her obituary, published in Legacy, reads, “Her lifelong affinity for and connection to the Virgin Mary began as a young girl when she was crowned Our Lady at a ‘May Procession’ Mass. She married Robert Velline (Bobby Vee) on December 28, 1963 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Detroit Lakes.”
3. She Was a Well-Known Member of the Central Minnesota Community
Bergen was extremely involved in the local community. Not only did she help set up the Rape Crisis Center for Women in St. Cloud, but she trained in “Living in Process, Beyond Therapy”, according to Legacy. She went on to found her own private practice at the age of 60.
In 2011, Bergen and Vee were given the Paramount Theater’s Life Time Achievement Award for their contribution to the Arts in Central Minnesota.
Karen spent her downtime riding her horse, Stormy, at Catalina State Park.
4. She and Bobby Vee Had Four Children and Five Grandchildren
Vee and Bergen had four children: Jeffery Robert Velline (b. Jan 3, 1965), Thomas Paul Velline (b. October 25, 1966), Robert Bryon Velline (b. August 4, 1967), and Jennifer Joanne Velline (b. May 31, 1972).
All of their children attended Cathedral High School, where Vee and Bergen founded the “Rock Around the Clock” fundraising event.
5. She Was a Social Worker
After receiving her degree from Moorhead State University, Bergen went on to earn her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota. She later worked for the Kimball School District, and was awarded the Rose Award for her work at the Rape Crisis Center for Women in St. Cloud.