Remembering Darrel Berg

Remembering Rev. Darrel E. Berg, age 98

Darrel was born on November 14, 1920 in Boone, Iowa and passed away on August 15, 2019 at his home in Coupeville, WA. He was preceded in death by his first wife Ruth Berg, parents Elmer & Irene Berg, and brother Ken Berg. He is survived by his wife Phylis Hollamon Berg; sister Polly Carpenter, Des Moines, IA; children Brenda Berg (Armando), Glendale, CA; Lowell Berg (Judy), Lincoln, NE; Bruce Berg, Coupeville, WA; Deborah Berg McCarthy (Michael), New York, NY; 13 grandchildren and step grandchildren; and 16 great grandchildren and step grandchildren.

After receiving public education in Boone, Darrel graduated from the St. Paul (MN) Bible College in 1941, from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1948 where he lettered in football, and from the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1951. He was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1965, and graduated with the Doctor of Ministry from the San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1978.

During his full time career as a United Methodist minister, he served churches in Seattle (Ronald, 1951-60), Lincoln, NE (Trinity, 1960-73), Omaha (Rockbrook, 1973-81) and Alliance, NE (1981-1986). Following his “retirement” in 1986 he chronologically continued his ministry in Omaha; Taree  Parish, NSW Australia; Blacktown Parish, Sydney Australia; Kapiti Parish, Paraparaumu NZ;  Glenwood IA; University of Nebraska-Omaha (Campus Pastor), Council Bluffs, IA; and as minister for the Guemes Island Community Church in Anacortes WA from 1994 until his second retirement in 2008. Not done yet, he then spent another year at Kapiti Parish in NZ.

Darrel's ministry was a creative blend of spirituality, social responsibility, intellectualism, and political engagement. In 1959, he spent a summer as a Methodist missionary in Japan which led to a lifelong interest in, and love for the Japanese people. A fierce advocate for civil rights, he and a few other committed Nebraska ministers marched in Hattiesburg, MS for voters rights in 1964; a dangerous and volatile period during the Civil Rights movement. He later facilitated the membership of the first African-Americans into his church in Lincoln. His distaste for violence was reflected in marching to oppose the Vietnam war in 1967, and in 1972 running unsuccessfully on an anti-war platform for the US Congress in Nebraska's 1st District.

An avid reader and lover of poetry, which he often wove into his sermons, he co-hosted a book review program for Nebraska Public TV for several years. A book of his sermons, “A Piece of Blue Sky” was published nationally in 1965, and republished in 2016. He also released a vinyl recording of sermons. His love for education prompted him to run for University of Nebraska Regent in 1976. He frequently had poetry recitals which were recorded.

A natural athlete, Darrel played tennis and swam in the cold Puget Sound well into his nineties. The harbor seals considered him a curiosity and would often slide closely by to check him out.

Darrel always judged people for who they were, not from where they came, what religion they were, their race or their color. His positive attitude was infectious, and his formula of love, respect, curiosity, wisdom, knowledge and spirit connected him with thousands of people around the world.

He packed a  lot into his 98 years; always adding value to individuals and society, never subtracting.

His faith sustained him as it now sustains his friends and family. As he was fond of saying at the end of every conversation, “To be continued.”

A memorial service will be scheduled at a future date. Memorials may be directed to The Hollamon-Berg Endowed Scholarship at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE, or The Ruth & Darrel Berg  Scholarship at Trinity United Methodist Church, Lincoln, NE.!

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