The World lost a good man Saturday night but we had him for 93 good years.
Harold was born on the Berg farm west of Atwater Minnesota and left us a few hours ago, with Helen and Bill at his side, in Englewood Florida. He said the town doctor used to say that “if you live long enough something will kill you”. Even Harold couldn’t buck those odds but he loved life, he lived long and well, and he lives on in our hearts.
He experienced the joy of growing up in a large family with 6 brothers and 2 sisters in the early part of the 20th century. But he also told of the harsh truth of his father returning from town during the Depression to report that they were broke. He was a frugal man to the end, it’s not hard to tell where that came from, and we all have something to learn there. Harold signed on with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 30's. The Berg brothers served our country well in World War II and, against steep odds, all came back alive. Harold was a player on an epic stage when his ship, docked in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, not only survived but with Harold’s help in the engine room was one of just a few ships at Pearl to get underway in record time and form an impromptu task force to search for enemy aircraft carriers.
After a great deal of action in the war Harold returned to the love of his life, Helen Corkins, and they were married on October 19, 1946. Harold went to work as a part of Berg Brothers Trucking before he was asked to serve as Postmaster of Atwater. Harold thrived in the Postal Service to become a leader in the state and national organizations of NAPUS (National Association of Postmasters of the United States) and, later, for the postmaster’s retired.
The father of 3 sons, Harold was a family man as well as a passionate volunteer, donating time and talent to church, the community club, NAPUS, the American Legion, the Boy Scouts and more.
Working in that ship’s boiler room in the Pacific must have altered his blood chemistry because Harold developed an incurable desire for palm trees and hot temps and an aversion for the snows of his childhood. Helen and Harold have spent winters in Florida since the 70’s.
Harold was seldom happier than when gathered with friends and family. He and Helen built strong friendships nationwide through their postal work and he relished those extended relationships. The proximity of his siblings, their spouses and all of us kids in the 50’s and 60’s created a North-Central Minnesota Baby Boom Upbringing that even Garrison Keillor’s imagination can’t do justice.
Harold is survived by his wife of 63 years, Helen, and two sons, Bruce and Bill and a daughter-in-law, Colette. Harold’s sister Nettie and brother Arnold also survive him.
He was preceded in death by his son, Jim, and by sister Irene and brothers Chuck, Melvin, LeRoy, Elmer and Duke.
Say a prayer then raise a toast to Harold Berg. I’m proud to say that he was my Dad.