Robert Berg

Obituary of Robert Berg

Robert Kenneth Berg, age 81, died quietly in his sleep on February 4, 2018, surrounded in his final days by his family and a very caring Franciscan Hospice team. Bob, as he was known to his friends, was born in El Paso, Texas, on April 14, 1936. He was the son of Ernfred Herman and Lucille Mary (Soniat) Berg, who settled in Dallas, Texas, where Bob graduated from high school in three years. He went on to the University of Texas and paid his way through school as a drummer in his own jazz combo. He completed Officer Candidate School, became an Ensign in the U.S. Navy, completed a 20-year Supply Corps career, and retired as a Commander in 1977.

While assigned to Point Mugu, California, Bob met his beautiful wife-to-be of 57 years, (Elizabeth) Vinka Ehrler. His next orders took him to Saigon, Vietnam, where their first son Rick was born. Daughter Mary was born in Pittsburgh, where Bob earned his MBA. 

Later, while Bob was assigned to the submarine base in Groton, CT, second son William was born. (William would go on to become a submariner himself when he completed high school.) His fourth child (deceased), Anthony Edward, was born in Oakland, CA.

After Bob met Vinka, they moved overseas to begin their marriage, and started a lifetime of adventure as they traveled and enjoyed the world together. His love of live performance arts took him and Vinka to operas, symphonies, and theater plays throughout New England and the US.

Upon Navy retirement in 1977, they moved to Cheshire, Connecticut. Bob went on to hold positions over the next 30 years at Cheshire Academy, the Farley Company, Science Park (one of the first hi-tech incubators in the U.S.), the Yale Employees’ Credit Union, and two local community colleges, where he served as Dean of Administration. A lifelong lover of Asian art, he started up an online antiques business called Ichiban Antiques (which means #1 in Japanese) and his website regularly received 30,000 hits per day. He was also one of the original vendors on Ebay.com.

Bob loved life. He loved gourmet food and often shared his accounts of “I just ate the best … ever”. He was proud of his family. He was known as Popi to all of his grandchildren. Bob was a huge cheerleader for his family, who took very different career & personal paths in their lives. He raised his kids to be respectful, take pride in their work, love fully, and take responsibility for their mistakes.

He was also called Friend by many, many people all over the world and he was very proud of his service to his country. His close family and friends from the many stages of his life enjoyed his wacky sense of humor, especially his puns, which he emailed to them daily in recent years. Bob once submitted ten puns to the Cheshire Herald for a weekly pun contest, and as he checked the paper each week to see if he had won, he realized that "not one pun in ten did."

Bob is survived by his wife Vinka, his sister Muriel Berg Ellis, three children, and seven grandchildren: Richard Alan (sons Ben, Sam); Mary Elizabeth (Sutton) and son-in-law Harold Sutton (daughters Katie, Evelyn); William Ernfred and daughter-in-law Katie Zilavy (sons Quinn, Remy, Soren).

Donations may be made in Bob’s name to either of two causes that meant a great deal to him: TheresasBattleshipFoundation.org (a local children’s cancer fund organized in memory of a friend's daughter) and the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area (dsconnection.org), in honor of Bob’s grandson Quinn. The Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Cheshire is assisting with arrangements.