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John A. ‘Jack’ Berges Sr.

Published: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
John A. 'Jack' Berges Sr.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Jack Berges passed to eternal life at the age of 94, with his wife of 71 years by his side in his home. 

Born in January 1920 in Ansonia, Connecticut, to Emil and Lillian (Wehrle) Berges, he had tales to tell of the Depression, hand-cranked windshield wipers, and emptying the coal bin. He worked as a golf caddy as a youth, and learned a sport that he enjoyed with family and friends nearly all his life. 

Jack attended MIT, where he was in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, played on the golf team, and graduated in 1940 as a mechanical engineer. He worked as an engineer for Babcock and Wilcox of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and Worthington Pump and Machinery in Holyoke, Massachusetts. In 1942, he joined the war effort as a second lieutenant in the Army ordinance department.

Margaret Golden became his lifelong bride on Dec. 26, 1942, in New Haven, Connecticut, before he shipped out to North Africa. He finished his service at Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia after recovering from malaria, and retired from the Army in 1946 with the rank of captain. Jack was awarded Honorary Member of the British Empire for his assistance to the British Army while overseas. 

In 1950, Jack began a 35-year career in management with the General Electric Company. His promotions took the family to Fort Wayne, Indiana; Caldwell, New Jersey; Brockport, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; and Sterling. His last position was as general manager of Appliance Control Manufacturing in Morrison, Carroll, Iowa, and Singapore. 

Jack and Margaret retired in 2002 to Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, where they continued to golf and enjoy all the benefits of an academic community. 

No matter the community he was in, Jack always shared his talents and resources with all that he could, serving on many school boards and parish committees. He continued in retirement as a board member at Holy Cross College. A lifelong proponent of ethics in business, his children endowed The John A. Berges Business Ethics Lecture Series at Notre Dame University in his honor. 

Jack is survived by his wife, Margaret; his sister-in-law, Francis Krenisky of New Haven, Connecticut; nephews, John and Peter Krenisky; children, John (Claudia) of Rolla, Missouri, James (Cathy) of St. Louis, David (Debra) of Stamford, Connecticut, Michael (Ina) of Baltimore, Anne (Ravi) Pillai of South Bend, and Patricia (Jack) Karnick of Winona, Minnesota; 21 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren. 

He was preceded in death by a son, Joseph, in infancy; and a great-granddaughter, Stephanie Berges. His one brother, Emil Berges, preceded him in death by 1 week. 

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Kaniewski Funeral Home in South Bend, Indiana. Another visitation will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Chapel in Holy Cross Village, Indiana, and the funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the chapel.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Holy Cross College of South Bend, Indiana, or the donor’s choice.

As Jack told his children many times over the years, “It’s been a great run, it’s been a great 18 holes.” 

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