Pearl C. Gilbertson, 96, of Decorah, died Monday, March 2, 2020, at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah. Funeral services were at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 5, at Madison Lutheran Church in rural Ridgeway, with Rev. Jim Scaife officiating. Burial was in the Madison Lutheran Cemetery. Visitation began at 10 a.m., one hour before the service, at Madison Lutheran Church. Casket bearers were Alan Branhagen, Kevin Gilbertson, Carleton Haugen, Ryan Petersburg, Wayne Petersburg and Gene Ude. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah served the family. Online condolences may be made at

Pearl Charlotte Gilbertson was born July 11, 1923, in Calmar Township, Winneshiek County, to Joseph Oliver and Myrtle Charlotte (Wheatman) Flaskerud. She was baptized Aug. 12, 1923, at the Calmar Lutheran Church, by Rev. J. W. Preus. She was confirmed at the First Norwegian Lutheran Church in Decorah by Rev. T. A. Hoff June 5, 1938. Pearl attended parochial and public schools and graduated from Ridgeway High School. She attended Luther College for one year and taught country school for three years.

Pearl was united in marriage to Gerald Raymond Gilbertson June 17, 1948, at First Lutheran Church in Decorah. After working with Jerry’s uncle, Gilbert, for 10 years on the family farm, they purchased their own farm 3-1/2 miles south of Ridgeway. Together, they farmed there for over 60 years before moving to town in 2011. They were married over 71 years. Pearl enjoyed gardening and cooking. Family favorites were her homemade donuts dipped in sugar or dark Karo syrup, pickled beets and bread and butter pickles. All the produce was fresh from her garden. In later years, Pearl and Jerry enjoyed traveling to North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana and Florida. What Pearl’s nieces and nephews remember most about her is her very special laugh. Her name fit her perfectly, she was a real Pearl.

Pearl is survived by her husband, Gerald (Jerry) of Decorah; brother-in-law, Les Branhagen of Decorah; and many nieces and nephews and their families.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Arlene Tveter, Oct. 13, 2004; sister, Ruth Branhagen, Sept. 3, 2016; and one brother, in infancy.