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John Jacob Berger

John Jacob Berger
  • September 3, 1940 - January 10, 2014
  • Fort Walton Beach, Florida

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John Jacob Berger was born on September 3, 1940, to loving, nurturing parents in Hayward, Wisconsin. It was a perfect place for him to be born as he loved hunting, fishing, trapping and even ice fishing on those cold winter days. He enjoyed chopping wood as much as reading literature and listening to "good" music - classical, jazz and choral.

John received his BA degree in German and English from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and later earned his MA in Contemporary German Literature from Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. He began his teaching career in the woods up in Babbitt, MN, where he met fellow teacher and wife-to-be Mary Margaret Sjoberg. The two were married in 1967.

Soon thereafter, John completed post-graduate study at Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg, Germany, a challenging endeavor as all lectures were delivered in German. There he and Mary immersed themselves in German culture, a longtime dream. Their son, John Peter, the joy of their lives, was born in Freiburg during this time. Shortly after John Peter's birth (ten days!), the three of them flew home so John could report for teacher workshop at Rosemount High School in Rosemount, MN.

John taught both German and English at Rosemount High School (RHS) for thirty years. In addition, he initiated and coached the first boys' golf team at RHS. John, a competitive golfer himself, won numerous club championships at local Valleywood and Northfield Golf Clubs, and also played in two United States Senior Amateur Championships with his son as his caddy. He especially enjoyed teaching his son how to play competitive golf in both high school and college. John was also a collector of antique golf clubs, golf accessories, and, of course, books about golf. He was a panelist for Golf Digest magazine.

Beyond the golf course John enjoyed sports in general, cooking, and especially traveling. John and Mary have set foot on every continent except Antarctica ("It's cold there," he would have said).

John passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on January 10th, 2014, in Destin, FL, with his wife Mary at his side. He will be fondly remembered as a healthy, strong and devoted man to his family and a man in Heaven. Friends, colleagues and family will long remember the lessons he taught about life, strength, faith and kindness.

Please remember wife Mary, son John Peter, daughter-in-law Holly, granddaughter Julia Margaret, sister Marge and brother-in-law Don Shifflet, John David Shifflet, and the Crippen and Guzzi families in your thoughts and prayers. John's last selfless act was to donate his organs for research and military soldiers in need.

On April 11, 2014, John Jacob Berger's visitation begins at 1:30m p.m. with Mass starting at 3:00 p.m. at Risen Savior Catholic Church-1501 County Road 42E, Burnsville, Minnesota. Private internment will occur at a later date in Hayward, WS.  Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Francis Solanus Mission Catholic Church, an historical landmark, at 13891 W Mission Road, Stone Lake, WS.  54876 or donor's choice.