Gilbert Berg, Sr.
Birch Run, MI
Early on Sunday morning, December 2, 2012, Gilbert Vincent Berg, Sr., a life-long resident of Birch Run passed away. He was 98 years old. Gilbert was born at the family farm on Block Road April 27, 1914, the sixth child of August and Emma Pagels Berg. His dearly loved siblings were Irene, Russell, Lila, Elmer, Marthena and Melvin and dear step-sisters Esther and Mabel. All predeceased him. On September 18, 1937, Gilbert brought to that same family farm his lovely bride, Elinor Klemm, and there they would spend 73 years together. Elinor died on September 15, 2010. On December 2, 2012, they were again reunited.
Gilbert’s formal education began at Rottier School, a one room school house located one-half mile from the farm. Three of his children also attended that school. After his graduation from Birch Run High School, Gilbert wanted to become a teacher but only had the funds for one year of college study at Central Michigan Normal School. He then got a job at AC Sparkplug in Flint and was one of the organizers of the UAW there. He served as the Union’s first secretary and later attended many UAW “Sit-Down Strike” reunions. During World War II Gilbert was a foreman at AC and furthered the war effort by manufacturing and assembling parts for machine guns. He eventually left the plant and resumed farming full time. Gilbert was a dairy farmer until his retirement in the early 70s. At that time Gilbert’s desire to be a teacher was fulfilled when God blessed him and Elinor with the opportunity to become teachers to mentally and physically challenged students. Each child’s accomplishments, both big and small, were applauded and cherished by “Mr. Berg” and “Ellie”. Upon their retirement from the Saginaw School System, Gilbert and Elinor continued to visit friends and family, often spending time with those in the hospital and in nursing homes.
Gilbert believed in service to his community. He was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Birch Run where he served in many capacities. He was superintendent of the Sunday school for over 30 years, and after leaving that position, he became a choir member at the church. Gilbert served on the school board for the Birch Run Area Schools, being its president for a number of years. He was a founding member of the Farm Bureau chapter in the Birch Run area, and he and Elinor were members of the Soil Conservation Club. Because of their interest in their heritage and in their community, Gilbert and Elinor enjoyed the fellowship with other members of the Birch Run Historical Society.
Gilbert and Elinor raised four children on the farm: Gilbert Vincent II who passed away in March of 2011; Nancy Ellen who married Ernest Howell and lives in Palm Coast, FL; Karen Sue who married Charles Hoover and lives in Saginaw, MI and William James who married Sue Porath and also lives in Saginaw. Just this past spring, the Berg Farm was designated a Michigan Centennial Farm and Gilbert was able to take part in that dedication.
Gilbert will be lovingly remembered by his three surviving children, his eight grandchildren (Vincent, Michael, Stephanie, Marya, Rebecca, Patrick, Christine and Lindsay), his eight great-grandchildren (Jeremiah, Gunner, Garrison, Sydney, Spencer, William, Joseph, and Daniel) as well as many nieces and nephews and their families. Gilbert will also be lovingly remembered by his step-grandchildren, Jeff and Tamara as well as his long time, dear friend, Al Bailey.
A memorial service is scheduled to be held on December 22, 2012, at Independence Village of Frankenmuth in its Harmony Hall. The service will begin at 11:00 with Rev. Dr. Richard Hillenbrand officiating. Visitation with family will be at 10:00 until the time of service. A luncheon will also be held at Harmony Hall following the service. For those planning an expression of sympathy, please consider memorial contributions of their choosing. Arrangements entrusted to Cederberg Funeral Home of Frankenmuth. Please sign our guest book or share an online condolence with the family at www.cederbergfh.com.