Dr. James F Berg went to be with our Lord on Thursday, November 16th, at 90 years of age. He lived a life marked by family and friends, integrity, generosity, and service to others, through a lifelong commitment to improving the medical well-being of those living in Mineral Wells and its surrounding communities.
Jim was born on November 21, 1932, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Harold Berg and Alyce Strelke Berg. He was the youngest of eight children. Jim was the last of his parents and siblings to pass away. Always a fierce competitor, hardworking and goal-oriented individual, Jim developed a sense of service to help others. This sense of service at an early age led him to become a physician.
Jim began his education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he graduated from Messmer High School and matriculated, in 1950, to Marquette University, a private Jesuit University. While at Marquette University, Jim was a pre-med major and college athlete participating on the football team. In 1953, Jim continued his education at Marquette University Medical School, graduating in 1957, with a Doctorate Degree in Medicine. Jim’s medical internship and residency were both completed in Milwaukee Wisconsin during the years from 1957 to 1962. Jim was Board Certified by the American College of Surgeons in 1964 and by the Fellowship of American College of Surgeons in 1968. Jim’s medical education did not stop upon his graduation, internship, and residency. He continually advanced his knowledge of surgery throughout his career. From 1961 to 1967, Dr. Berg was in private practice in General Surgery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Saint Francis, St. Lukes, West Allis Memorial and Milwaukee Hospitals.
Jim met Gay Ellen Hoepner (Ellie) in 1957 at Milwaukee Hospital while Ellie was a charge nurse at the hospital. They quickly began dating and their fascination with each other turned into love. That chance meeting turned into a beautiful lifelong relationship, and they were married on April 19, 1958. They were married and soul mates for 65 years until his passing. Jim and Ellie were blessed with five wonderful children.
The United States Army drafted Jim in 1968, as a Major, and stationed him at Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells, Texas. He served as Chief of Professional Services and Chief of Surgery at Fort Wolters and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before his honorable discharge in 1970. During his tenure with the army, and with the permission of the Army, Jim joined the medical staff, as a general surgeon, of the Nazareth Hospital, and immediately after the closure of Nazareth Hospital, the medical staff of the newly established community Palo Pinto General Hospital. He was honored to participate in the hospital transition process and as a result, upon his discharge from the Army Jim and Ellie decided to remain in Mineral Wells to raise their family. With the support of the Palo Pinto General Hospital and local fellow physicians, Jim established Surgery Associates whose specialties included Thoracic, Vascular, Orthopedics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Colo-rectal, Neurosurgery and Neurology, and Laparoscopic surgeries. Jim was also instrumental in the establishment of the ICU department at the hospital as well as the designation of the Palo Pinto General Hospital as a Level 1 trauma hospital. Jim was known as a very compassionate, intelligent, and caring person by his colleagues, patients, friends, hospital community and especially his family.
Jim lived largely and loudly and rarely turned down a chance to have fun. He enjoyed a good Manhattan, old fashioned and fine wines. His hobbies included spending time with friends on the DC Harris and Rhodes ranches during deer season, West Texas deer hunts, made up cougar hunts, daily walking, jogging, back packing, and snow skiing. Jim was also proud to be the team physician for the High School football team. He loved leading a highly active lifestyle.
Jim was very family oriented and spent most of his vacation time visiting Ellie’s two sisters’ families, as well as his seven siblings’ families. Among other things, he enjoyed wine tastings in Michigan, fishing in Florida, and hosting family in Texas.
Some of his favorite family times included grilling hamburgers (hundreds) for his children's swimming pool parties and attending numerous children's events. He also enjoyed playing bridge, penny poker, antiquing and arrowhead hunting -- always with Ellie by his side. Jim was forever there for his family.
Jim’s marriage to his wife Ellie was one with a biblical view, one that was God given for the purpose of serving God, his wife, and his family. Jim’s commitment to Ellie was and has been the same since their chance meeting in the Milwaukee Hospital until his passing ... never wavering. Ellie always came first with Jim, and she could always count on him for anything. Jim accomplished many things throughout his life and was so deeply loved and cherished because of his integrity, selflessness, and willingness to serve others. We are still learning from others how much he was appreciated, cared for, valued, and how he championed others. Jim will be missed by so many people whose lives he touched.
Jim is survived by his wife Ellie, son Jim Berg (Sharon), daughters Wendy Carmody (John), Nancy Scoggins (George), Linda Kessler and Lisa Garrett. He was a grandpa to Mike Berg (Sarah), Lauren Vaughn (Taylor), Nikki Nicholson (Ryan), Matt Carmody, Jamie Elkins (Chris), Brian Scoggins (Courtney), Jake Scoggins, Erika Gonyea (Edde). He was great grandpa to Sadie and Brooks Berg, Mackenzie, Hannah, Avery and Payton Vaughn, Liam and Ellie Elkins, Grace Fowler, and Austin Gonyea. He was preceded in death by great grandkids Brooke and Hunter Berg, and Elijah Vennink.
The family would like to thank all the wonderful people involved in his home care, especially Sherri Garcia, Pat Bunnell, Maddie Davis, and Robyn Basiliere. Additionally, we thank Americare, Right At Home and Angels Among Us for their compassionate care.
Join us in celebrating Dr. Jim Berg’s life Saturday, December 9th, 2023, 2:00 pm, at the First United Methodist Church, 301 NE 1st Street, Mineral Wells. The service will be officiated by Pastor Darren Walker with the reception to follow in the Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church.