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401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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Life Story / Obituary
With unending kindness for those around him, Arthur Bergers was a blessing in the lives of so many. A longtime resident of the community he loved, he was the sort of person everyone seemed to know. Although he enjoyed traveling and saw so many of the most amazing places, Arthur loved nothing more than just being in the water with a fishing pole in his hand. Thrilled to become a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1930s were a time unlike any other in American history as the Great Depression covered our nation and much of the world throughout the entire decade. Countless American families felt the challenges of the times, yet the American spirit could still be seen as cities, communities, and neighborhoods came together to do what they could to weather the storm. It was amidst this trying time that Arthur and Margaret (Saleski) Bergers were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Arthur Lawrence on February 7, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The second of four, he was born in the family home on Alpine Avenue, and he was raised alongside his siblings, Donald, Betty, and Delores. Arthur enjoyed playing baseball, and as a young student he attended Turner Elementary.
It was while growing up that Arthur developed the hardworking attitude he was known for. While a student at Union High, he took a painting class he enjoyed and has a couple paintings he did hanging in his home. Arthur was forced to leave school during his junior year to help support his mother as his parents had divorced. Arthur worked as a paperboy and delivering telegrams. His mother and Uncle Victor taught him how to fish on the Sixth Street Dam over the Grand River. Arthur went fishing every week after stopping at the butcher shop for string to use as a fishing line. Although he left formal school, Arthur enjoyed reading, especially history, and he would educate himself that way. In his twenties he and some friends bought some property in Irons, Michigan, and as an outdoor lover Arthur spent much time there. They later built a cabin there, and over the years he ended up buying out his friends. It was paradise for him as he loved both fishing and hunting, and in time he rebuilt the cabin so there was more room for hunting with family. Also by his side on his trips up north, was his faithful English setter, Mike.
In the late 1950s Arthur’s life was forever changed when he met his true love. Her name was Phyllis Coolsen, and they met on a blind date. Six months later, Arthur and Phyllis were married on February 23, 1960, at the rectory of St. Mary’s Church. At the time he was working for C&O Railroad where he was a carpenter working on passenger cars and also a pipe fitter working on the engines. This was a great fit as Arthur was a handyman who could fix pretty much anything. The newlyweds first lived in an apartment above her sister and later bought a home. Together Arthur and his wife welcomed six children including Gregory, Jeffrey, Laura, Diane, Teresa, and Aimee into their hearts and home. He put his handyman skills to work remodeling the kitchen and finishing the basement in their home. For years Arthur also enjoyed working on cars, but then they became too complicated, so he gave it up. Over the years they took family trips to Canada, World's Fair, Grand Ole Opry, and during the summer would go on camping trips as a family, staying at various campgrounds in a StarCraft popup camper and later renting a cottage on a lake.
Throughout his life Arthur was one to keep busy. A huge Tigers fan, he listened to Tigers games on the radio as the radio was on all the time. Arthur also watched their games on television, never missing a game this past year. He even made it to see some games in person, including when their children were younger and they took the train to Detroit to see the game. One time, they almost missed the train home but his coworkers held off the train for him so they could still make it. Arthur combined his love for travel with his love for fishing on some fishing trips to Canada with his brother and nephews. Arthur and Phyllis enjoyed traveling and went to Europe in 1992. For a while he was into photography and took all kinds of pictures of things in nature as well as historical things. Arthur was an avid collector of coins, baseball cards, and even beer cans. For years he was a country music fan, but he later got into easy listening. Arthur was a meat and potatoes guy, but he also enjoyed burgers, nuts, and had a sweet tooth for things like ice cream with chocolate. He frequently made afternoon stops at Shawmut Inn for a beer, and lately he had a taste for Molson. Arthur was into grilling as most days he grilled something whether brats, sausages, or steaks for special occasions. He enjoyed just working on the yard, and he also liked helping others including neighbors and family members with their yards and other projects. Most times, Arthur could be found with either a cigar or a toothpick in his mouth. After suffering a massive heart attack while fishing in Irons in 2002, he underwent quintuple bypass. More recently, Arthur had lost the strength in his legs, which left him unable to wade out in the water while fishing.
Described as someone who was helpful, gentle, easygoing, and optimistic, Arthur Bergers was an extraordinary man to know and love. He lived a life of purpose and gave everything his all, even into his sunset years. Arthur was deeply devoted to his family, and it was when he was surrounded by his family and friends that he experienced true happiness. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
BERGERS – Arthur L. Bergers age 88, of Grand Rapids, passed away at his home with his family by his side on December 28, 2019. He was preceded in death by his brother, Donald Bergers; and sisters, Betty Stokes and Delores Lorenz. Arthur is survived by his wife of 59 years, Phyllis; children, Gregory Bergers, Jeffrey (Barbara) Bergers, Laura Bergers, Diane Bergers, Teresa (Patrick) Spencer and Aimee (Randall) Zakrajsek; 13 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his sisters-in-law, Sonia Bergers and Margaret Bossardet; and several nieces and nephews. Arthur worked for C&O railroad for 33 years and was an avid fly fisherman and hunter who enjoyed being on the river or in the woods. The Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 AM on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at St James Catholic Church, 733 Bridge St NW with visitation one hour prior. Interment in Holy Cross Cemetery. Contributions in his memory may be made to Emmanuel Hospice. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read his life story, submit a favorite memory or sign the guestbook online.