Bruce Evan Berg, 67, passed away on Tuesday, August 6, 2013, a cool, cloudy summer morning, after a short, fierce battle with melanoma.
Bruce was born on May 28, 1946 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Robert and Fern Berg.
He lived his life with his parents and siblings, Karen, Margie, Laura, and Jim in Minneapolis until he was 20 when he enlisted in the Air Force. He was sent to the base in Torrejon, Spain where he worked as an Air Traffic Controller Radar Repairman.
He met the love of his life, Dolores (Loli) Alcaide-Garcia, on a blind date in 1968. They both didn’t understand and speak the same language, so they communicated with hand-drawn pictures and dictionaries. They fell in love pretty quickly in this romantic way. Dad became fluent in Spanish in three months—love was a pretty big motivator. Mom loved how sweet and polite he was, and Dad loved how kind and compassionate Mom was. Plus, he thought she was gorgeous and called her his “Natalie Wood.”
Before Dad and Mom were engaged, Dad helped Mom get through the trauma of her mother’s death. Two months later, Dad proposed on Valentine’s Day, and Mom accepted. Mom and Dad were married six months later on August 16, 1969. They honeymooned for 18 days all over Spain and in North Africa.
Ten months after their honeymoon, they had moved to Minnesota, and Chuck was born, their determined, problem-solving, leader child. Fourteen months later, Pab came into the world, their loyal, compassionate, inventive child. After Pab was born, Mom and Dad bought the Champlin house they’d live in for over 40 years together. However, nine years after Pab’s birth, Mom and Dad became parents again in their late 30s. Loli was born, their creative, empathetic, fun-loving kid. All three of his kids were the best “surprises.” Dad’s wife and kids were the loves of his life, and everything he did was for them—from working overtime, coaching, fixing cars, offering advice and support, buying thoughtful little gifts, and giving sweet hugs. He was the definition of a family man.
Early in Mom and Dad’s marriage, Dad took all sorts of jobs to support his family. He delivered pizza and film, polished faucets, drove taxi, and filled vending machines. He also attended the University of Minnesota for architecture for two years until he landed his job at Unisys where he worked as a computer technician for 23 years until the plant closed. Dad then drove a school bus for a bit, worked at Fairview for some years, and then retired after working for TSA at the airport. He worked hard his entire life until he retired at the age of 62.
During Dad’s working years, he saw all three of his children get married to wonderful spouses: Chuck to Heather, Pab to Kristy, then Loli to Paul. He then saw four beautiful, perfect grandchildren enter the world: Natalie, Dylan, Alex, and then Ashley. Dad installed a playground in the backyard for them and a rope swing that the kids still enjoy today. He loved to take the kids on camping trips in his Minnie Winnie, and the kids loved every second. What’s more fun than camping with Grandma and Grandpa? The kids brought so much joy for Dad. He was a gentle, caring grandpa, and the kids will never forget him, especially his big smile.
All of Dad’s life, he pursued many hobbies and interests. Primarily, Dad was a devout Catholic, and he sang in the adult choir for many, many years. He regularly attended church at St. Stephen’s with Mom and regularly volunteered at Summer Fest where Dad and Mom would grill and cook for the parishioners. Besides practicing his religion, Dad loved to go camping and travelling. In his later years, Dad and Mom went to Florida, Texas, and New Orleans. Mom and Dad were supposed to go to Missouri, but the night before they were to leave, he was hospitalized with his first symptoms of cancer.
Also for hobbies, Dad enjoyed working on electronics, completing multiple home projects, and tasting delicious foods, especially Chinese. He was a brilliant man, gifted in math, design of all kinds, home and car repair, and creative problem-solving. One of Dad’s proudest accomplishments was graduating from Hennepin Technical College with a degree in electronics in 2000 where he was on the dean’s list the entire time. Most importantly, though, Dad’s biggest interest was loving everyone unconditionally, an achievement he constantly achieved.
Dad bravely made it through many health struggles: melanoma twice when he was in his late 30s, a knee replacement, hernia surgery, a quadruple bypass last year, and finally the same melanoma one more time after 28 years of remission. Dad never complained about these health problems—or pretty much anything; in fact, even in the end, Dad never once complained about pain from the cancer—not once. He was a Norwegian tank through the end; we just wish he didn’t have to leave us so soon.
However, Dad’s health struggles won’t be his legacy. They aren’t even a blip on the radar. Dad will be remembered for being the best father, husband, brother, and friend. He’ll be remembered for his never-ending capacity to love, his sweet, helpful, kind, generous nature, and his unmatched level of integrity. Simply put, Dad was a top-shelf gentleman, someone irreplaceable and rare. He was easy to love—by everyone.
We all have extremely broken hearts with Dad’s passing, but a broken heart is the result of something much deeper and sweet: the end of unconditional love.
Bruce will be greatly missed by wife of 43 years, Loli; children, Chuck (Heather), Paul (Kristy), Loli (Paul) Dillion; grandchildren, Natalie, Dylan, Ashley, and Alex; siblings, Karen (Ron) Coleman, Margaret (Darrell) Shaw, Laura (Rick) Robideau, Jim (Cheryl) Berg; many more relatives and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial, Monday, August 12, 2013 11:00 A.M. with visitation starting at 9:30 a.m., Church of St. Stephen's, 525 Jackson St., Anoka, MN. Interment, Fort Snelling National Cemetery at 2:00 p.m., Lane 2.
We love you, Bruce. May God comfort and take care of you until the day we all can see you again.