Saturday, January 18, 2020
12:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST
Indian Run Golf Course
6359 RS Ave E
Scotts, MI 49088
Life Story / Obituary
All those who knew Robert “Bob” Berg would agree that he was the heartbeat of wherever he went. He was a true character who lived life on purpose, and always took advantage of every opportunity to have fun. Bob was deeply devoted to his family, and a friend of Bob’s was a friend for life. He always had the sharpest sense of humor and perfected the art of being able to laugh at himself. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
It only seems fitting that Bob’s journey began during a time that was as colorful as he was. It was the 1950s, when Elvis took the music world by storm with his rock ’n’ roll, and television shows like I Love Lucy and Lassie entertained us. It was amidst this exciting time that Robert L. and Barbara Jean Berg were delighted to announce the birth of their new baby boy, Robert David, on a sunny Saturday morning, September 11, 1954. Known as Bobby, his birth was quite an event as his mother was quite petite, and Bobby weighed in at 10 pounds. The second oldest of four (and only boy), he moved around a lot as a child alongside his sisters, Debbie, Joanie, and Carol. As a result, Bobby attended many schools before their family finally settled in suburban Birmingham, Michigan.
In many ways, Bobby was a typical young boy of his generation. He loved vacationing at the family cottage on Houghton Lake. He enjoyed all sports, both playing and watching from the time he was young. He particularly loved golf, paddleball, softball, and skiing, and while he was very competitive, he was also a good sport when he didn’t win.
After graduating from high school, Bob followed his sister Debbie to Western Michigan University. This was a formative, exhilarating period in his life, and he found some of his closest lifelong friends during this time. While in college he met his best friend and ‘Boo Brother,’ Jeff Biggers. Through countless Commando parties, soul-crushing Lions games, and infinite laughs, they remained brothers until the very end. One semester, Bob was able to move to Vail, CO, to follow his passion of downhill skiing. After graduating from WMU, Bob became involved in a paddleball league in Kalamazoo, where he became fast friends with a close knit group who always hung out together. As they later had families, Bob’s kids all referred to this group of friends as aunts and uncles.
It was through this paddleball group that Bob met his lifelong love. Her name is Gail Potgiesser, and they experienced more than 30 years of life together. As the story goes, it was his sense of humor that attracted her to Bob. She resisted at first, but she could never help laughing at the self-deprecating jokes that won her heart. After 10 years together, Gail and Bob were blessed to become parents to their first child, Chelsey, followed by Blake three years later, and five years after that, little Camille. From the day they were born, his children were the light of Bob’s life, and he was an active part of their childhood. He made sure school came first, but they had plenty of fun too, as he often took them boating and tubing on Eagle Lake, putt-putt golfing, and hiking at Al-Sabo. Always a sun, water, and sand lover, Bob and his family created wonderful memories while taking vacations during spring break and summer. Trips to Myrtle Beach, Florida, and Lake Michigan were spent listening to classic rock, riding waves, sunbathing, and grilling. Bob was a proud, beaming parent at any event involving his kids. Sports were a major part of his children’s lives, and Bob never missed a game or tournament. For a period of time, he coached Blake’s various soccer teams, in which he took great pride. He even stepped in as the game-calling announcer a couple of times when Blake’s high school soccer team was shorthanded. Bob had tight bonds with his girls as well, attending all the father-daughter dances, birthday parties, and choir concerts. In fact, he was even (sometimes) willing to help his girls with their hair, but it wasn't really his gift. Through his example, his children learned to be a team player, to be a good sport, and to have good manners. Of course, he never let them forget the importance of laughing at themselves as well. During one particular instance on a vacation at Lake Michigan, Bob artfully demonstrated this during a footrace along the shore with Blake, when he promptly wiped out at the turnaround. His family never let him live that one down, and he always welcomed the good-natured ribbing.
Throughout his life, Bob was a man with many interests and hobbies. An avid golfer, he participated in golf leagues at Thorn Apple and Pine View, and he also enjoyed visiting the annual PGA Senior Tour at Harbor Shores. Always athletic, Bob once water-skied under the Mackinac Bridge, and he even mastered the art of barefoot skiing. A music aficionado, he occasionally played guitar for fun, and he also loved all kinds of music, including The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and he shared this passion for music with all of his kids. Bob and Gail also taught their kids card games like cribbage and euchre, leading to dozens of family tournaments through the years. As his family and friends can wholeheartedly attest, Bob was a fantastic cook who was famous for his buffalo chicken wings, spaghetti, goulash, chili, Swedish meatballs, as well as his Thanksgiving dinner. Bob’s favorite foods were always the foods that he made. Bob was not a materialistic man, but there were a select few objects held dear to him: the 70’s-style stereo speakers that he made in college, his golf clubs, and his beloved vinyl albums. Talented in his trade of carpentry, Bob’s clients loved the work he completed in home additions, home rehabs, and woodworking.
With unending love for his family and friends, Bob was a generous blessing and true joy in the lives of anyone he met. He worked hard, but he played hard, too, and he was someone who could find the fun and humor in any situation. Always a kind-hearted soul, he was truly interested in others, asking people about how they were, and genuinely interested in their response. Although Bob was a man of few words, he always made sure others knew how much he cared. Life will go on a little less bright for Bob’s loved ones, and through their enormous pain they will take comfort in the priceless collection of memories forever held near and dear to their hearts. Bob was a one of a kind man, and his spirit will shine on through his children.
Bob Berg passed away peacefully on Saturday December 7, 2019, surrounded by those who loved him most. Members of his family include his life partner, Gail Potgiesser; their three beloved children, Chelsey Berg (Tim Kimball), Blake Berg and Camille Berg; his dear sisters, Debbie Berg, Joanie Berg (Barry Boice), and Carol (Steve) Biggers; brother-in-law Rod (Marilyn) Potgiesser, several nieces, nephews, and extended family. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Barbara. Cremation has taken place and a memorial celebration will be held Saturday, January 18, 2020 from 12 noon-4 PM at Indian Run Golf Course, 6359 RS Ave E; Scotts, Michigan, 49088. Please visit Bob’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can locate memorial details, archive a favorite memory or photo, sign his online guestbook. Memorial donations may be made to American Cancer Society. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.