Cover photo for Catherine Irene Berger's Obituary
Catherine Irene Berger Profile Photo

Catherine Irene Berger

June 20, 1944 — December 8, 2023

Catherine Irene Berger

 

Catherine Irene Berger, age 79, succumbed to cancer on December 8, 2023. The oldest of seven children, she was born in Jacksonville, Florida on June 20, 1944 to parents Edwin and Alberta Berger. Known as “Cathy” to her family and Catherine to everyone else, she was raised on a farm north of Auburn, Nebraska graduating Auburn High School. Catherine earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska and a Master of Divinity from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.


A free spirit, Catherine loved learning and lived her life in service to others through vocation and as a volunteer. In the 1960’s, she taught second grade in Grand Junction, Colorado where she developed a program to mainstream special needs students into the classroom. In the 1970’s Catherine was the managing editor of the Telluride Times in Telluride, Colorado where she used her position to support the evolution of Telluride from remote mining town to a destination for the cultural arts and tourism.

In the 1980’s, Catherine became an ordained minister of the American Lutheran Church at a time when it was rare for women to become ministers. As pastor, she served several small churches in rural North Dakota. In later years, Catherine worked different customer service jobs for a variety of retail businesses across southeast Nebraska.

No matter what Catherine did to earn a living, she always had a heart for those overlooked by society and she often challenged conventional ways of thinking. Catherine spoke publicly, preached, designed/presented workshops and retreats on topics including evangelism to the underserved, the needs of elderly, children/youth ministry and a variety of social justice issues.

Catherine was a caregiver and personal aid for a deaf and blind person. She learned sign language so she could translate worship services for the deaf. Catherine served many years as a volunteer pastor for a care center and was a Stephen’s minister serving people in crisis. A talented musician, Catherine played the piano and organ and served as a music director and organist for different churches throughout her life.

Catherine loved the outdoors and liked to hike, camp, ski, and canoe at anyplace she called home from the mountains of Colorado to the state parks and lakes of Nebraska. During one family vacation, Catherine led her nieces and nephews on an adventure walk in Estes Park, Colorado pointing out animal scat and markings on trees left by elk and bear.

Catherine admired the National Park Service because the environmental, social, and economic values of the Parks aligned with her own. These shared interests led her to volunteer for Homestead National Historical Park near Beatrice, Nebraska where she organized community support for the park’s 150th anniversary, earning recognition as “Volunteer of the Year.” Most recently, she continued her interest in the preserving the natural environment by volunteering at the Niobrara National Scenic River Park near Valentine, Nebraska.

Catherine is preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Alberta Berger, sister Adrienne Berger of Fremont, NE and sister, Chris Allgood of Peru, NE. Catherine is survived by her sister Linda Blumenthal of Omaha, sister Janet (Tom) Osborne of Auburn, Brother Greg (Kim) Berger of Ralston and brother Paul (Renee) Berger of Elkhorn, 12 nieces/nephews, 12 great nieces/nephews and dear friend, Susan Cook of Valentine.  

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 10 AM on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Auburn, NE followed by the internment of ashes at Saint. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. Concerned about the growing population of feral animals, Catherine asked that any memorial gifts be made to spay and neuter program of Valentine at Borders without Boundaries (501C3 20-8671625) at:

Borders without Boundaries
c/o Sherry Voight
90269 Hatchery Road
Valentine, NE 69201.

“Faith is the bridge between where I am and where God is taking me.”

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Catherine Irene Berger, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

St. Paul Lutheran Church

2012 O St, Auburn, NE 68305

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