Dwight H. Berg, 98, of Fayette, died Sunday, April 20, 2014, at Maple Crest Manor in Fayette.
Services and inurnment will be at a later date at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Ocala, Florida. Memorials may be made to the Dwight and Trudy Berg Scholarship Fund at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. Becker-Milnes Funeral Home in Fayette is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left at www.beckermilnesrettig.com.
Dwight Hillis Berg, son of Charles H. and Myrtle E. Stockholm Berg, was born January 6, 1916, at Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania. He received his education at Montrose High School and Mansfield State Normal School, both in Pennsylvania and Ph.D from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Dwight was united in marriage with Gertrude Marjorie Robinson on December 4, 1943 at the home of her parents. He served with the U.S. Army during World War II and was a Biology Professor at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio for thirty years. He very much enjoyed his years at the college and was known as an enthusiastic educator. After retirement in 1980, Dwight and Trudy initially retired to a home on Tingley Lake, Pennsylvania near their childhood homes. To escape the northern winters, they moved to Ocala, Florida in the late 1980's. Following Trudy's death on March 1, 1999, Dwight remained in Florida until entering Maple Crest Manor in Fayette in September of 2011. He enjoyed Botany, gardening, reading, watching college football and basketball, and earlier in life enjoyed traveling.
He is survived by one son, Gary and wife, Jacqueline Bunke of Dayton, Ohio; one daughter, Debra McCarty of Fayette; and a sister-in-law, Elaine Berg of Montrose Pennsylvania.
In addition to his wife, Dwight was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, William and Clark Berg; and his son-in-law, Gregory McCarty.
(Becker-Milnes Funeral Home, 563-578-3451, RC 4-22-14)
Dr. Berg was an inspiring, enthusiastic, and truly wonderful teacher. Over the years, I have thought of him often and with great fondness. Only a rare and gifted person could set students on fire the way he did.
Darcy Knoble, Class of '76
Now that I am retired and working in a second career with my wife as a farmer/flower grower in West Virginia, I am wishing that Dr. Berg’s classes were offered some time during the day other than right after lunch. It was hard to stay awake just after eating. There is so much I missed that I could be using now. Not a day goes by when I have my hands in the dirt that I don't remember Dr Berg and wonder what advise he would offer.
I have many fond memories of the field excursions and plant walks. Unfortunately the largest number of spring wild flowers I encounter now is in the “used-to-know” family. But I still enjoy them and remember Dr. Berg’s patience and passion for his field of study. I still try to take time every spring for a flower walk.
I am particularly fond of the times I spent with Dr. Berg in Colorado at the Enid University Summer Science Camp traversing from desert to high mountain tundra fauna and flora often with Gary and Debra in tow. My condolences to both of you. Hiram lost a fine professor when he retired and you a wonderful father.
Al Tuttle - Hiram 1974
Dr. Berg was one of the highlights of a Hiram College education, and the world will miss him. But hooray for him to live to be 98! It's sad that he is gone, but wonderful that he had such a long life. I'll always remember his huge enthusiasm for biology and for the college. We'll miss you, Dr. Berg.
Kathy Hoeh Griffin ('81)
I took an Introductory Biology class from Dr. Berg during the spring of 1975, and he convinced me to become a biology major because of his clear love of the subject. His class was so interesting, and he had such a great passion for his subject, that I switched my major to Biology at the end of my sophomore year.
I am sure the family will miss him greatly. Dr. Berg was a wonderful man and a fabulous professor, and the family should take great joy in the legacy he leaves behind.
Nancy Spear Class of 1977
Dr. Berg always had a wonderful enthusiam for nature. Turns out, it was contagious and I found myself getting very excited with each new spring wildflower that I came across. I ended up being a naturalist for our local park for many years and instilled a love of nature in my three children and now my grandchildren. Thank you Dr. Berg for the gift of loving nature as you did all of your life!
Patty (Burnett) McHenry Class of '75
I often think of Dr. Berg when I go into the woods, especially in springtime when the early wildflowers make their appearance. I took all the couses he taught, I think, because he was the real deal: knowledge freely shared from an unimpeachable source. I looked after his house one summer (1968) while he was camping with his family and I was engaged in a special project to collect and identify plant specimens for a herbarium he was setting up. Even then I knew I was a zoologist, but he made botany appealing by making me see that plants and animals are really more simlar than different in their ecological and evolutionary contexts. He was a kind, forthright person of great integrity, and as an old professor myself now, I still think of him as a model of what we should try to be. He had a long and enviable life, and I will celebrate him gratefully.
- Larry Hurd, Hiram class of 1969
I am saddened to learn of the news of Dr. Berg's passing. However, I am happy that he did live a very full and long life! I was a botany student of his in the early 1970s. I even stayed at his home during the summer one year. Botany was not an area of biology that I was terribly interested in... until I took his classes! I recall one overnight field trip we took to the state forest when he broke all the students into groups to work on keying out plants. There was a group for lichen, ferns, fungi and I was a moss. Call me a nerd, but spending the evening with buddies and going through the keying books was fun. Fun enough to leave a very positive memory of Dr. Berg's teaching methods. My condolences to his family.
Dr. Berg's classes in the 1970's served me so well professionally as a naturalist and botanist for more than 30 years. While I enjoyed learning plant family characteristics and life cycles, his local field trips into the spring Hiram woods, and fall trip to Cook's Forest in PA were the best! His passion for botany was so contagious--I still share this excitement and love of wildflowers, natural areas (and his info on plant families).
I will never forget his kindness to allow some of the female Bio students to spend the summer at his home while he and his family were in PA-- so we could still do research at the Biology Station. It meant so much, since in those days, girls were not permitted to stay over at the station.
Denise Goldberger Gehring, Hiram '75
I have fond memories of Dr. Berg. The field trip to Cook's Forest for nonvascular plants was memorable from the amount of work and fun that could be crammed into one short trip. It was a challenge to be able to keep up him as we hiked through the woods. He would be directing students to look over by that log or over here by these rocks for some particular specimen. His memory was spectacular for those things and he seemed to be tireless. He was someone who cared about the students. I really loved his classes and to this day I still use the knowledge I gained in the class. My condolences to Gary and Debbie.
John Osterman Hiram '74 Vice-Director, School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska
Dr. Berg was my advisor (1975-79) for the Science (Botany) half of my Science / Religion double major. And almost all of my botany classes were taught by Dr. Berg. I remember with fondness our field trips to Cook Forest in Pennsylvania where we would stay overnight in a cablin while we collected and identified plant samples. He loved Botany and it showed through his teaching.
Dwight Berg was my botany professor at Hiram in the early 1960s, and his lectures were superb. I remember riding in his car with a bunch of other students and asking him, "Can you identify the trees just from their conformation [I think I used the student word 'shape']?" "Sure" he replied, but never gave a demonstration. I still can't figure out if he could or not, doubtless he could but did not want to appear godlike. The field trip to the state forest in Pennsylvannia was a gem. James Barrow was the more dynamic lecturer but my class notes reflected only Barrow's own brilliance, not what might be, potentially, mine. Dwight Berg provided the template for my own advancement. Doubtless others must feel the same way.
Only two days ago was I recounting to my Plant Developmental Biology class here at Iowa the excitement Dr. Berg brought to all my college courses on the biology of plants, including his racy observation that one could sex a Silene flower by "squeezing its ovary." Not only did he cement my enduring fascination with plants with the knowledge he imparted, but, more importantl,y he provided my best example of a superb educator, never afraid to share his enthusiasm for nature and especially plants ("Look at that Marchantia-- you could make a salad out of all that!"). His courses were the highlights of my education at Hiram College.
Erin Irish, Hiram '80, Associate Professor of Biology, The University of Iowa
Not a day goes by in the spring that I don't think of Dwight Berg, an inspiration to hundreds of students who became passionate about botany. 40 years after his class, I still remember where I saw my first plants on field trips with DB. And I still remember their names and families and have made botany and gardening a life long pursuit. My condolences to you Gary and Debbie. Your father was one of the greatest educators I have known in my 40 plus years in higher education.
Denny Taylor Hiram '73 and Professor of Biology, Hiram College