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Life Story / Obituary
Kimberly Ann Bergner was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend. She drew people close with her playful spirit, contagious laugh, and incredible kindness. Kim was blessed with many caring friendships, women who were there for her through hardship and celebration—but each of them would undoubtedly tell you that Kim was the one who was always there for them. Kim’s greatest source of joy was her family: her husband, Daniel, and their four precious children, Layla, William, Henry, and Frankie. Motherhood was her calling, and she was devoted to caring for her kids. To know Kim was to love her. She will be forever remembered as the thoughtful, fun-loving, light-filled woman that she was.
On October 4, 1982, Kim was born at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. Her parents, Craig and Patti Mutch, and her two-year-old brother, Christopher, welcomed her with excitement. She was baptized, confirmed, and later married in the family’s church, Trinity Lutheran. Kim was a carefree, happy child. Her younger sister, Katherine, was born almost three years later, and the girls formed an extraordinary, enduring bond. As kids, they may have bickered over Barbies, but at the end of the day, their connection was unshakable. No matter the distance between them, Kim and Katie communicated daily, laughing and sharing and encouraging each other as only sisters can.
Growing up, Kimmie was a true daddy’s girl and, as she got older, a best friend to her mom. She looked forward to summer camp, vacationing with her family, and spending time with her grandparents in Northern Michigan and Florida. As a child, she stayed active by biking, swimming, and participating in sports like gymnastics, softball, and AAU basketball. Kim attended the Grand Rapids Christian Schools from preschool through 12th grade. She enjoyed spending time with friends, ever the social butterfly. For college, Kim attended Western Michigan University. Her love of children inspired her to earn a degree in teaching.
After graduation, she joined both of her siblings in Chicago, where she began her first teaching position in the suburbs. Middle school physical education is not for the faint of heart, but Kim exceeded expectations. Her gift for making people feel seen and included extended to her students, and they always felt comfortable around her. She even pioneered and coached the school’s first-ever boys’ volleyball team, leading them to a championship. When she wasn’t working, she was out with friends, catching Cubs’ games and making the most of every holiday and birthday. Her friends have many fond memories of dressing up, hosting parties, and laughing long into the night together. She also worked hard to reach her goals, like deciding to run the Chicago Marathon. Most people ease their way into 26 miles, but not Kim! She signed up, trained (a little), and mainly relied on natural athleticism and sheer willpower to get her across the finish line. She succeeded with flying colors. Chicago is where Kim formed some of her most cherished friendships—and where she would meet the love of her life.
In 2009, Kim met Daniel Bergner, a medical resident from Plainfield, Illinois. Kim admired Dan’s kindness, intelligence, good looks, and family values from the start. Their dating life was full of outings to concerts and comedy clubs, and it didn’t take long for them to realize they wanted to spend their lives together. Dan and Kim were married in September of 2011 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids. As newlyweds, they lived in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, immediately adopting their first (and naughtiest) “child”, Norman the Goldendoodle puppy. Dan and Kim became fully-fledged parents when Layla Patricia was born a year later. The Bergners bought their first home in Aurora, IL, where they moved with baby Layla and a much bigger Norman. Dan joined Grand Valley Medical Specialists a few years later, and the family moved to Grand Rapids. Kim was excited to be closer to her parents and sister in her home state. She lived for family gatherings and quickly took on the unofficial role of party organizer, ordering matching t-shirts for events, passing out goody bags for the kids, and decorating with everything from balloons to piñatas. Kim’s smile was brightest when grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins came together to play, laugh, celebrate, and enjoy each other’s company.
Kim gave birth to twins William and Henry on October 2, 2017. She blossomed as a mother. It’s no secret that twins are hard work, but she was always patient, taking everything in stride as she loved and encouraged her kids. Even the boys’ most mischievous moments were met with a quiet giggle from mom. Kim was endlessly creative, coming up with new ways to keep her three little ones happy and busy. Other moms asked her for tips on the best local museums, playgrounds, petting zoos, and parks. Kim was passionate about caring for her kids and intentional about teaching them to be kind, inclusive, and loving to everyone they met. She was thoughtfully raising her children to make the world a better place.
As an adult, Kim’s remarkable capacity for friendship continued to impact the people around her. She loved selflessly, willing to drop whatever she was doing to deliver a gift or thoughtful card.
Friends and even acquaintances could count on Kim to keep in touch, send pictures, or reach out with a text. Family and friends all knew firsthand of her love for music. Over the years, she created and shared too many mixtapes to count! Keeping everyone up-to-date on the latest chart-topping hits was just one of the ways she showed her love. Kim’s happy place was Lake Michigan, diving and floating in the freshwater waves. She was most content at the family cottage, spending time with loved ones near the water. Kim had a memorably irreverent wit, and she loved to laugh—a boisterous, musical laugh. Those who knew her agree; she lit up the room.
Kim’s dream of having a big family came true on October 6, 2021, when Frances Marie was born and named after both of Kim’s adoring grandmothers. The family delayed Kim’s 39th birthday celebration until everyone was home from the hospital. Finally there, seated around the table with her four children in the home she and Dan shared, Kim smiled and mused, “I have everything I’ve ever wanted.” It was her best birthday yet.
Kim fought valiantly to overcome her pain. More than anything, she hoped to be here for her family and loved ones. Now, she would want her life story to highlight the importance of mental health awareness and the need for understanding and compassion for those who battle inside themselves daily. Our beautiful Kim lives on in the hearts of those who loved her.
Kimberly Ann Bergner, age 39, joined her grandparents in heaven Thursday, March 10, 2022. She is survived by her husband of 10 years, Daniel W. Bergner MD; children Layla, William, Henry, and Frankie; her parents Craig and Patti Mutch; her siblings Christopher (Heather Schuman) Mutch and Katherine (Matthew) Daly. Also surviving are her father-in-law and mother-in-law Jeffrey and Dorothy Bergner; sisters-in-law Emily Bergner, Molly (Matt) Hammel; nieces and nephews Olivia, Alexandra, and Jacob Mutch, Samuel, Jack, and Max Daly, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins. Friends may meet the family on Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8PM at Keystone Community Church, 655 Spaulding Ave SE, Ada, where the funeral will be held Friday at 1 PM. Family interment in Woodlawn Cemetery. The family appreciates memorial contributions to: i understand, PO Box 822 Ada, MI 49301 (iunderstandloveheals.org).
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