John George Berger ’54 was born on Aug. 4, 1929, in Oakland. He grew up in San Anselmo, attending St. Anselm Grammar School, St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco, and College of Marin, and graduating with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from SCU. He started his engineering career working for Link Belt before retiring from Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo as head of the structural design division after 35 years of service. At Mare Island John used his engineering skills to help modify submarines so that they could allow divers in and out while submerged. Much of his work was classified. In his spare time he developed several homes, one of which he moved from the West American Bank location in Downtown Sonoma to Verano Avenue. This home is listed as a Sonoma Historical Landmark. John was staying at the Sierra Club Lodge skiing with friends when he met the love of his life, Evelyn Benson. To pursue her, he used his charm as “he drove her to church.” In 1959 they married, settled in Sonoma, and started a family. John’s favorite things were his family and backpacking and fishing in the Sierras, where he would take his boys on 100-plus-mile backpack trips. He loved working in his shop, tending to his amazing garden, and walking his dog, Daisy. John passed away peacefully at his home in Sonoma with his family by his side on Oct. 23, 2017, at age 88. He was a resident of Sonoma since 1959 and a wonderful husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather to wife and family members John and Allison, Chris and Rhonda, Mike and Rosie, and Robert and Courtney; as well as grandchildren Camille, Josh, Steven, Austin, Jerry, Christopher, Jacob, Camryn, Isabella, and Grace. He was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn, and his parents, William and Johanna. John was a man of his own terms. All who were lucky enough to spend time with him will miss his diligence and intelligence.

08 Nov 2018