1950 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Oilman Kurt Berger, born to Keith and Irene (Taylor) Berger in Oildale, CA, was raised in oilfields near Shafter CA., where his father was an engineer for Superior Oil. Kurt attended Rio Bravo Elementary and Shafter High School (1968) where he played varsity basketball and baseball and played clarinet in the marching and concert bands. Kurt attended Bakersfield College for 2 years after high school. He joined the army and served as a military policeman in Saigon, Vietnam and U-Tapao airbase in Thailand for 3 years. In 1975, he graduated from CSUB (BS in economics). He then worked for oilfield service companies in Los Angeles and Midland for 5 years. He began working for Exxon in Bakersfield in 1980 (Edison Field). In 1983, he moved to Shell Beach, CA. He married Lisa Hogarty in 1993. Kurt continued working offshore (Hondo field and OS&T) and onshore (Las Flores Cyn) while studying law at UC Santa Barbara (JD 1996) passing the CA bar exam in 1997. Kurt and Lisa's daughter, Amanda, was born in 1999. After moving back to Arroyo Grande CA, while continuing with oilfield work, Kurt opened his law practice and also became involved in several real estate ventures. He remarried in 2008 to Sheila Boyce. Kurt worked a rotational assignment in offshore Africa from 2005 until his 2011 retirement. In 2012, Kurt took on a key leadership assignment with Ramsgate Engineering to manage an industry-first oilfield project in Bahrain. In 2014, he took a job to build a massive Exxon Alaskan gas recovery project. This assignment began with an 18-month job in South Korea. His health forced him to return from Alaska in late 2015.
Kurt developed heart problems several years ago. He went to Long Beach Memorial Hospital in July for further heart valve repair as a last resort to save his life. Unfortunately, Kurt never regained consciousness and died 9 days after surgery from organ and circulatory failure.
Kurt never allowed his many health ailments (cancer, liver disease, tuberculosis, heart disease) to interfere with his love of life and work, or his remarkable sense of duty to his employers and clients, his family or his friends. Kurt had the most remarkable wit, determination, personal generosity, charisma, sense of honor and fair play, intellectual focus and enthusiasm; and these will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him.
Kurt was buried in a custom casket made by friend Bruce Cooper and cousin Mark Wendler, at the Arroyo Grande District Cemetery on August 1, 2016. A celebration-of-life bonfire and BBQ will be held later this year.
Surviving are Kurt's wife, Sheila, daughter Amanda, mother Irene, brother Eric (&family), and many cousins.
Any friends who wish to may make a donation for his daughter Amanda's college fund through
may do so through this link:
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Sept. 4, 2016
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