Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Peter Westfall Berger ’56 was born in Hollywood, California, in 1933, the third of four children, to Paul Francis and Inez Westfall Berger. He grew up in Pasadena, California, attending Mayfield Jr. School and St. Philip the Apostle before moving on to Loyola High School and then SCU. After college, Peter joined the Navy, earning the rank of LTJG and learning to land fighter planes on aircraft carriers. In 1959, Peter and his brother Paul Francis Jr., co-founded Berger Bros., Inc., a commercial construction company. The two would go on to build many of the most prominent buildings throughout Southern California. That same year Peter attended a dance, where in walked the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He turned to his friend and said “that’s the woman I’m going to marry.” Being a man of his word, Peter proposed to Eliane Derminghem just one month after their first date. Together they had nine children and spent the next 60 years with each other. An extremely hard worker all of his life, Peter always found time for his family. He was a loving, generous, and thoughtful husband, father, and grandfather. Never one to shy away from helping others, Peter lived what he taught. An incredibly kind man and a consummate gentleman, he died peacefully at home on April 16, 2019, surrounded by family. Peter is survived by his wife, Eliane; his nine children and their spouses: Martha Johnson (Frederick); Peter Berger ’84 (Ingrid); Brian (Anne); Paul; Michael (Stacy); Jonathan (Robert Nachman); Angelique; Chantal Bennett (Stephen); and Ariana Kirkpatrick (David); 16 grandchildren; his older sister, Sister Inez Marie SHCJ; his sister-in-law Gretchen Berger and her six children; numerous nieces, nephews, and friends; and his loyal dog, Lucy.