Gladys Violet Berg, age 91, of Bend, Oregon passed away on June 7, 2008 surrounded by family. A service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Monday, June 16th at Long Lake Lutheran Church with Pastor Howard Skulstad officiating. A visitation will be held one half hour prior to the service at the church. Internment will be at Long Lake Lutheran Cemetery.
Gladys was born January 27, 1917, the second daughter of Alma (Borup) Bergstrom and Henry Bergstrom. Her paternal grandmother, a native of Sweden, lived with them so Gladys’ first language was Swedish. The 13 acre Wisconsin farm that was her childhood home planted within her a love of working the soil and caring for animals.
She and her sister, Emma, completed all of their elementary education in a one-room school house, a mile’s walk from their home. Together they moved to Grantsburg to attend high school, boarding with a family during the week, walking the twelve miles (each way) home on the weekends. From there Gladys moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota for training as a nurse at Northwestern Hospital. She was to work as a nurse for many years both prior to beginning a family and later as her children moved out of the home.
June 6, 1942 Gladys married Carlton Luther Berg at Zion Lutheran Church of Trade Lake, the same church in which she had been baptized, confirmed and reared in faith. In 1944 she began her role as a pastor’s wife when Carlton became pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bayport, Minnesota. Carlton’s career took them to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada; Chicago, Illinois; Auburn, Washington; Hillsboro, Oregon and Spokane, Washington.
Gladys and Carlton had four children: Carol Kristine, Steven Paul, Marita Louise and Carlton Walter (“Carlie” as a child, “Carl” when an adult). Carl had Down’s Syndrome. Despite the 1950’s practice of placing such children into institutions, Gladys and Carlton chose to raise Carlie at home. This decision would shape the family and Gladys’ care giving for the remainder of her life. The couple joined the Association for Retarded Children and was part of a nation-wide effort that led to legislation requiring public schools to provide education for all children regardless of ability or disability. It meant that Carl could attend school until the age of 21. Gladys rejoiced to see him graduate with a Certificate of Recognition from Sunset High School to the standing ovation initiated by the entire senior class graduating that year.
In retirement, Gladys moved with Carlton to Terrebonne, Oregon and later to Edmonds, Washington, as they sought out sheltered workshops in which Carl could work, while continuing to live with them. They acknowledge that Carl needed to become independent of them. After years of being on a waiting list, Carl went to live as part of the Lutheran Good Shepard community for the disabled in Cornelius Oregon. To remain an active part of Carl’s life, Gladys and Carlton moved to Hillsboro, Oregon but they had opportunity to travel and pursue interests of their own without the responsibility of daily care giving. Gladys’ hands, always busy, now enjoyed more leisurely activities of crocheting, knitting, tatting and sewing.
In the late 1990’s Carlton began to decline into Alzheimer’s. Gladys’ caregiver role expanded to meet Carlton’s increasing dependency, until his death December 6, 2003. Thereafter, Gladys’ remained actively involved in son, Carl’s care.
In September, 2007, no longer able to live alone, she moved to Bend, Oregon to live with daughter, Carol and her husband, Ronald. Gradually she relinquished her role of caregiver, learning to become the recipient of care as her health declined.She had touched the lives of thousands of people as a professional nurse, a pastor’s wife, a Sunday school teacher, an active church member, an advocate for the disabled and as a good neighbor.
Gladysdied June 7th at home, surrounded by family at the age of 91 years, 4 months and 11 days. Besides her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Carlton.
Sheis remembered with love by friends and family, especially her children, Carol and Ronald Melver of Bend, Oregon; Steve and Linda Berg of Minnesota City, Minnesota, Marita Berg of Yakima, Washington and Carl Berg of Forest Grove, Oregon; her grandchildren Erik and Heather Melver of Hong Kong, China, Kirsten and John Griffin of Renton, Washington, Matthew Melver of Miami, Florida, Naomi Melver of Oakland, California, Laura Berg of Fargo, North Dakota and David Berg of Denver, Colorado; her great-grandchildren, Aidan and Jackson Griffin, Anika and Saskia Melver.