Chuck Bergey passed away Friday, February 15th 2019 in Meridian, Idaho, at 92 years old. He was born in Mantorville, Minnesota August 14th, 1926 to Harry Leon Bergey and Dorothy Groff Bergey. His father’s family originated in the Lansdale, Pennsylvania area. His mother’s family, the Gardner’s and Groff’s, were early settlers in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Chuck was a product of his times, growing up in the difficult Depression Years and World War II era. The family moved often, with his dad pursuing work opportunities in seven states. They moved to Boise in 1936, all seven of the family arriving here in an old 1928 wooden-wheeled Buick, pulling a canvas-covered trailer full of their belongings. Chuck said they resembled a screen-shot from the “Grapes of Wrath”, and felt a great sense of relief as they crossed the New York canal and saw the lush green pastures and vegetation of the Boise Valley. Despite attending four high schools in four states after the initial move to Idaho, Chuck considered himself a member of the Boise High Class of 1945 since he spent most of his middle school years in Boise. He took night classes and summer school, graduating high school in the middle of his senior year in Cheyenne, Wyoming in December 1944, allowing him to enter the war. He joined the Army Air Corps and was assigned to the 11th Air Force, 344th Squadron, in the Aleutians on Shemya Island as a crew chief on a P-38 Lightning aircraft named the “Shemya Kid” .
After the war and returning to Boise, Chuck attended Boise Junior College for a time before going to work at the telephone company, starting as a mail clerk and pay phone coin collector. He continued on for 36 years at Mountain Bell, retiring as a staff manager in Forecasting at the Boise office. He made life-long friends there, and spoke highly of the company. He was very disappointed with the forced break-up of the Bell System by the federal government in 1985, after the company worked for years creating a world-leading phone system. He felt the only reason the Bell System was disbanded was to justify the large staff at the Department of Justice.
He met Mary Anne Patrick at the phone company where she was an operator. They were married in 1949, for 48 years until she passed away in 1997. During his career, the family transferred to Denver and Pocatello, where he worked as a unit manager. He was active in the Junior Achievement Program, served a stint as President of the Boise Young Executive Association, was on the vestry of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Pocatello, and was a member of the Masons. He loved all things Idaho, was proud of the evolution of BSU, and the Boise area in particular.
Following retirement, Chuck and Mary Anne hosted many camp reunions with friends and family at their mountain cabin. They also trailer-camped with the Telephone Pioneers, taking their granddaughters along on many interstate camping trips creating lasting memories for all. For a time, he had a portable sawmill where he did custom cutting of hardwoods and pines. In recent years, Chuck made memorable trips to visit family in Kodiak, Alaska and participated in an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. for World War II veterans. He was very grateful to the sponsors, volunteers and Warhawk Museum, who made the Honor Flight possible.
Chuck is survived by daughters Diane Kemppainen (Chuck) and Claire Wieber (Orval); sons David and Douglas (Cindy); grandchildren Kellie Bergey, Erin Bergey, Rachael Bunt (Joseph), Erik Saveland, Ashley Saveland, Jonathan Kemppainen, and Marc Kemppainen; great grandchildren Westley Kemppainen, Riley Bunt, Vena Bunt, Pepper Bunt, and Harvey Bertholf. Also surviving him: special friend Helen Gregory and seven favorite nephews and nieces and their families from the Bergey and Gray families. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Leon Eugene “Buddy” Bergey, Phillip Allan Bergey, Hugh Wilson Bergey (Ann), Elizabeth Bergey, and Mary Anne Gray (Howell). The family would like to acknowledge the thoughtful and excellent care provided by Heather, Greg, Jackie, and Maria and the support staff of Harrisons Hope Hospice; the Saint Lukes Meridian 4th Floor Telemetry Staff and Dr. Peter Clifton; and Debra, Diva and Amanda of Aspen Home Health. Also, Dr. Louis Schlickman and his staff at Winding Creek Medical Arts provided years of first-class care which contributed greatly to Chuck’s quality of life. His neighbors, Ray and Cindy Larrondo helped him remain independent for the last several months, and he enjoyed their friendship over many years. For those wishing to make a memorial donation, Chuck suggested the Warhawk Museum, 201 Municipal Drive, Nampa, Idaho 83687. Phone 208-465-6446
A reception will be held on March 23, 2019 from 2pm-4pm at Cloverdale Event Center, 1200 N Cloverdale Rd. in Boise.
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