Inger Fredrikke Bratland Pincus

by | Mar 16, 2023 | Obituaries

Norfolk—It is with much sadness, a lot of love, and a sincerely great appreciation for a wonderful life shared with us, that the Pincus, Silverstein, Gjertsen, Friedman, Bratland, Helly-Hansen Family shares the news of the passing Tuesday, February 7, 2023, of Inger Fredrikke (Inger-Dikken) Bratland Pincus.

At the grand age of 94, our mother, sister, aunt, cousin, grandmother, great aunt, great-grandmother and amazing friend played many important parts in all our lives, and always did so with a special creative and unique flair, giving us many lasting and loving memories.

Inger was born in Bergen, Norway in 1928, daughter of the late Bernt Martin Bratland and Ingegerd Helly-Hansen. She, with her younger sister, Ragnhild (Rannie), grew up on both the west coast of Norway, in and around Bergen, and on the southeast coast, in and near Moss, Norway. From an early age, she was introduced to the theater, music and the arts, and always enjoyed outdoor activities, especially hiking, swimming, sailing, riding and skiing.

In April of 1940, when the Germans invaded and occupied Norway, Inger was 11 years old. She was not particularly talkative about her experiences during the war, but there were times, with prompting, that she would recount several stories—how her family would evacuate their city residence, to friends’ and families’ country homes or cottages, to escape Allied bombing of the German Submarine base in Bergen, how she and friends would always be careful to avoid German soldiers, and how her father struggled to keep the family fish brokerage business operating despite severe restrictions, confiscations and demands imposed by German troops. Inger was 16 when Norway was finally liberated from German occupation in the spring of 1945.

After the war, as a young adult, Inger lived and studied in London, Copenhagen and Paris. In London, she attended the exclusive finishing school The Club of the Three Wise Monkeys. She later studied in Copenhagen, at the Kunsthaandvaerkerskolen, where she received a degree in Industrial Design.

It was while studying and working in clothing design in Paris in 1952 that she met and fell in love with Harry Pincus, Jr. of Norfolk, Va. It is of no surprise, and on good information, that evening strolls and romantic dinners along the Left Bank were common occurrences for the couple during their courtship in Paris. Accepting Harry’s proposal of marriage, Inger traveled to the U.S., accompanied by her mother, and the two were married in Virginia Beach in 1953.

As she started settling into married life in Norfolk, Inger had to adjust to many new social and cultural nuances of Post-War American life. At this time in Norfolk, there were very few other Norwegians, except for the Norwegian Consul, Anders Williams, and those few Norwegian military personnel, with their families, stationed with the fairly new NATO SACLANT Headquarters. She quickly made many good friends throughout Hampton Roads. To her credit and advantage, Inger was interested in, and quite adept at, learning other languages. In addition to Norwegian and English, she also spoke Danish, Swedish, Spanish and French fluently. She even studied Mandarin Chinese.

In 1954 it was Inger who first found a small quaint beach house to rent in Virginia Beach on 87th Street, that her mother-in-law, Esther Pincus, later purchased and that the family since then turned into the beloved “Pincus Cottage.” The wonderful friends and neighbors of 87th Street became extended family and always meant so much to Inger and Harry, as they enjoyed the beach and the community, while raising their family together over many years.

Between 1955 and 1965, Inger and Harry had five children, and with this large family experienced many wonderful adventures.

Inger continued her study of, and work with, fine art. She began studying ceramics and sculpture at the former Norfolk Museum Art School and the Selden House Studios, and then furthered her studies at Old Dominion University, receiving her Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1983. Much of her artwork, be it painting, print making, ceramics, or sculpture, has been exhibited throughout Tidewater. Inger also worked as an assistant professor of sculpture art for both Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University during the 1980s and 1990s.

Almost every year, for 70 years, she would make trips home to Norway to visit family and friends, and to make certain her children knew their Norwegian family and heritage. In 1962 Inger became one of the founding charter members of the Sons of Norway Lodge 3-522, and she was present, with her family, at the unveiling of the Norwegian Lady Statue at 25th Street & Boardwalk of Virginia Beach, commemorating the historic 1891 Wreck and Rescue of the Norwegian Tallship “Diktator” from Moss, Norway. Late in life, Inger, reconnected and kindled a very special and loving relationship with an old friend and distant relative, Lauritz Devold, of Ã…lesund, Norway. The two enjoyed many happy years together traveling and relaxing both in Norway and in the U.S.

Inger is survived by her sister, Ragnhild Waagensen of Copenhagen, Denmark. Also, surviving Inger are her five children, eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild: Paul Bratland Pincus and Kjersti Gjertsen of Tromsø, Norway, and their children, Hanna Gjertsen Pincus (Jérémie Geffard) and their child Billie Geffard-Pincus, Sigrid Pincus Gjertsen, and Nora Pincus Gjertsen (Callum Thomson); Finn David Pincus (Debbie Jackson) of Salem, Va.; Alex Harry Pincus (Susan) of Norfolk, and their children, Erin E. Pincus (Joey Dotson), David A. Pincus (Jasmine Wood) and Anna-Britta Pincus; Ingeresa Pincus Friedman (Brian) of Norfolk, and their children Neal M. Friedman and Cole B. Friedman (Lauren Klevan); Kari Esther Pincus (Michael Boso) of Norfolk.

Inger maintained her active lifestyle well into her 80s, regular attending the symphony, opera, and theater, enjoying time with friends and family, and traveling around the country and overseas. Inger loved and cherished her family and friendships, and she was loved by all of us.

The family would like to express its most sincere and deep appreciation to the staff of Beth Sholom Village and Suncrest Hospice for the loving care they gave to Inger over this past year.

A Family and Friends Memorial Service will take place at a later date. Donations to the Old Dominion University
Foundation, Chrysler Museum, or any local performing arts organization.

Online condolences may be offered to the family through