James "Jim" Donald Bergman (AKA "The Big Kahuna"), 84, of Missoula; formerly of Bozeman and Great Falls, passed away on Dec. 3, 2015. Jim deeply loved his family, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, many relatives and friends. Throughout his life, Jim enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, skiing, bowling, and golfing. Jim and his family made many, memorable trips. He welcomed friends along with his children's friends as a part of the household and many people joined the Bergman family on camping, ski trips and other activities. He was a father figure and mentor to many.
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Preceding him in death are his parents Hugo and Sophia Bergman; sister, Audrey Calvert, California; infant son, Bruce Bergman, son, Steve Bergman, Alaska, and grandson, Brett Bergman.
Survivors include his devoted wife of 63 years, Midge and his children: Kenneth (Julie), Fountain Valley, California, Robin (Judy), Kaneohe, Hawaii, Jane (Harry), Tigard, Oregon, Debbie (Henry), Missoula, Montana, Lisa, Missoula, Montana, and Jim (Debbie), Everett, Washington; sister, Laura Jensen, Corona, California.
Jim was born in Great Falls on May 16, 1931, to parents Hugo and Sophia Bergman of Cascade, Montana. He attended school in Cascade and graduated High School in 1950. He attended Montana State College a short time then served in the U.S. Air Force. Jim married his wife Midge (Mina) Nahrgang in 1952.They moved to Bozeman where he graduated in 1956 with his B.S. in Education. Jim taught and coached in Oilmont then in Three Forks until 1961. He returned to MSU and received his Master's in Administration in 1962. He was hired by the Great Falls Public Schools where he had a life-long career as an elementary principal at Riverview, Longfellow, Skyline, and Chief Joseph schools.
Jim received many honors and recognition over the years as an exemplary principal. He was the first principal in Montana to receive the Distinguished Principal Award.
After retirement in 1988, Jim worked in MSU's Education Department and Washington School in Livingston, Montana. While in Bozeman, Jim was an enthusiastic Bobcat fan and supported all the MSU sports. After Jim retired, he was a volunteer at the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital and was a member of the Bozeman Senior Center.
A celebration of Jim's life and internment at the Craig Cemetery will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial scholarship for Cascade High School seniors has been established in Jim Bergman's name. Gifts in Jim's memory can be sent to: Cascade Education Fund, PO Box 605, Cascade, MT 59421.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Dec. 9, 2015