Virginia Mae Cervin passed away at 99 ½ years old on Thanksgiving, November 25, 2021 at Bellaken Garden & Skilled Nursing Center in Oakland, California. Gini was born in Turlock, California on May 17, 1922 where she grew up on a dairy farm with her parents, Elsie Christine Beserra (Nordeen), originally from Rockford, Illinois and Manuel Enos Beserra, originally from the Azores, Portugal.
She was preceded in death by her first husband, Carl Oscar Nelson (1922-1985), her second husband, Rev. Russell August Cervin (1913 – 2004) as well as her older brother, Eugene Enos Beserra (1918 – 1968). She is survived by her dear younger brother, “Jimmy” - James Raymond Beserra (Donna) of Turlock as well as her three children, Julie Marie Echaniz (Tom), Louanne Joy Nelson and Robert Bruce Nelson (Dorothy). Gini’s cherished grandchildren will miss her very much – Joey Harris, Sara Fisher (Matt), Nicole Nelson, Travis Nelson (Rachel) and Michael Echaniz. Her two great grandchildren (Quinn and Owen Fisher) will hear stories about her life when they are older.
Virginia attended Turlock High School where she enjoyed acting in school plays. She earned her Associates Degree at Modesto Junior College. Seeking adventure, she moved to Oakland in her early twenties. She met Carl Nelson at the Mission Covenant Church on Fifth Avenue (later First Covenant Church Oakland on Redwood Road) where they were married and together for 38 years. She sang soprano in the choir and was active in church life but she is most affectionately remembered for her role of playing the Swedish grandmother in the Christmas program. Gini had a creative talent for interior design, sewing and gardening. She created a beautiful Japanese garden in the backyard of her house on Carson Street.
After the death of her husband Carl, Virginia’s spirit of adventure led her to travel to Sweden and Norway on a Covenant Church trip. It was on this trip that she met Russell Cervin, a retired minister and former Executive Secretary of Covenant World Missions, who also shared with her the grief of losing a spouse to cancer. Their common heritage and Christian faith brought them together and gave them the gift of another chance at love and a second marriage lasting over 17 years. They enjoyed living at Rossmoor (Walnut Creek, California) where Virginia stayed for another 12 years after Russ’ passing. For the past 5 years she has been lovingly cared for by the staff and caregivers at Bellaken Garden & Skilled Nursing Center (2780 26th Ave., Oakland, CA 94601). Donations in her memory can be made to Bellaken Garden or First Covenant Church Oakland, 4000 Redwood Rd., Oakland, CA 94619. A celebration of Virginia’s life will be planned later in 2022.
Virginia was a beloved sister, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother (MorMor) and great-grandma who will be missed greatly. She is resting eternally with God. We are so thankful for her life and will remember her always, especially at Thanksgiving. Peace to her memory.