Gertrude Falkenhagen (Bonde), Alpha Omicron Pi, #amazingsororitywomen, #WHM2017

Alpha Omicron Pi’s Tau Chapter at the University of Minnesota was founded on October 29, 1912. Gertrude Falkenhagen was one of its early members. Falkenhagen graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1917 with a B.S. in Home Economics. That year, the American Dietetics Association (today it is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) was founded “by women dedicated to helping the government conserve food and improve the public’s health and nutrition during World War I.”

Serving as a dietitian during World War I was indeed paving new ground. Travelling from Minnesota to France was no easy task. But Falkenhagen took the challenge. And while she was on the other side of the ocean doing her patriotic duty, the alumnae of her chapter gave this report in To Dragma of Alpha Omicron Pi:

Bonds, stamps, Red Cross, Y. M. C. A., Belgian babies, War Chest, etc.—how we have learned to count our support of these a privilege in the world’s great cause….Red Cross has received most of our active service. Every girl has averaged six hours a week making surgical dressings or sewing, most of them doing the work after a full day of activity in the business world, in schools, and homes. I cannot make an estimate of the number of knitted things sent to soldiers or the number of garments made at home for refugees, for most of us have lost count. Belgian babies and French orphans are our next objects of interest and we have all contributed toward these little people overseas in the past few years and are continuing to give through our ‘War Chest’ which includes all the war funds in this particular section for work at home and abroad.

Gertrude Falkenhagen has been in France for some time with Base Hospital No. 126. She is our only representative in France and we are wonderfully proud of ‘Trudie,’ glad she can be there with her wholesome good spirits and capable service.


Gertrude Falkenhagen, dietitian for Base Hospital No. 65 while stationed in France. She is pictured sitting on a large rock along a shoreline. (Photo from State Archives of North Carolina)

After the war, she returned and continued her career. The Minnesota Alumnae Chapter report in the May 1918 To Dragma included this question, “Do you all know that Gertrude Falkenhagen is a dietitian in Niagara Memorial Hospital at Niagara Falls, N . Y.?” In 1920, she took a job as a dietitian at a hospital in Kent, Ohio.

The May 1923 To Dragma, announced her engagement to Roy W. Bonde. It was noted Bonde was a businessman from Montevideo, about 140 miles west of Minneapolis, the town listed as Falkenhagen’s hometown in University of Minnesota catalogs. The customary five pound box of chocolates was shared with the alumnae chapter.

The couple was married in Montevideo on Tuesday, August 21, 1923 at the home of the bride’s aunt, Mrs. Johannes Hanson. The maid of honor was Marion Mann, an AOPi sister. The Bondes took a honeymoon boat trip to Belle Isle, Isle Royale, Michigan, and then made their home in Montevideo.

She died in 1971 and her husband died a year later. They are buried in Alexandria, Minnesota.

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2017. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates through the comments section below. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

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