August 3, 1930 – May 21, 2020
Theodore McDonald Berger (Theo) passed away peacefully on May 21 2020 at North Okanagan Hospice House in Vernon at the age of 89. He is survived by his wife of 66-years, Margery, as well as four children, Mark, Paul (Anne), Heather (Bill), Bruce (Fiona), one brother Thomas (Beverly), six grandchildren Chad, Devin (Jacquie), Brooke (Lev), Paige (Emin), Bailey and Carter, four great-grandchildren Alexus, Mya, Cameron and Landon.
Theo was born in the shadow of the Hagwilget Peak at Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton, BC on August 3 1930 to Mauritz Theodor Berger and Perle Berger (nee: McDonald). Theo was the eldest of four children. His father arrived in Canada from Sweden prior to the Great War (1914-1918): a knowledge of horses led to a career in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Perle Berger was born on Sea Island, BC and raised in Smithers and Vancouver where she worked as a book-keeper: the house that she grew up in, is now home to Theo’s eldest grand-daughter.
Theo completed an electrical engineering degree at UBC in Vancouver in the early 1950s. He married Margery Helen Dunsmore on December 19, 1953. They met in the Kootenays. Margery and her friends were very excited that a new crew of boys were moving to the Kootenays for work so she and her friends threw them a party. Theo later claimed that he looked across the table and liked her smile. Margery was outgoing and chatty while Theo was stoic and thoughtful – they complimented each other perfectly.
The young couple first lived in Hamilton Ontario where Theo worked for Westinghouse. They eventually moved back to BC, living in Victoria and then Smithers where Theo worked for the BC Power Commission, the forerunner of BC Hydro with whom he had a long career until his retirement. Theo and Margery eventually settled in Vernon, which became their home for most of their adult lives apart from a six year stretch in Prince George in the 1960s.
Theo was a family man. As his kids grew up, he and Margery took them swimming, sailing, camping, fishing (and water skiing) around Prince George, in the Kootenays and on Okanagan Lake. Theo took an early interest in scuba diving in the summer and many winters were passed skiing with the family at Silver Star. Weekend outings and family camping trips were time-honoured institutions as were Theo’s pancakes on Saturdays.
Theo was also very involved in the lives of his six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He not only taught them to swim and ride bikes, but he also stoked their curiosity and passion for learning. He is remembered, as always having a project on the go, always looking for a problem to solve. It was through his industrious spirit that he empowered and inspired his grandchildren.
Theo was a practical man and a reader of instructions. He was introspective and careful. He also had a life-long interest in natural history and the natural world. He could make and fix just about anything. The very first thing he is reported to have done when he received his first bicycle was to take it apart to see how it worked. Theo was a “rock” for his wife and family for over 60 years. Even in his final days, Theo maintained his dry and observant sense of humour and remained thoughtful and kind. He is sorely missed.
Theo’s family would like to thank the nurses and care staff at North Okanagan Hospice House for making Theo’s last days easier and more peaceful. We will remember your kindness always.
At Theo’s request he was cremated. Those friends wishing to make memorial contributions in memory of Theo may do so to the North Okanagan Hospice House Society, 3506-27th Avenue, Vernon, BC V1T 1S4.
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