Shirley Ann Berge

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Shirley Ann Berge Obituary
Shirley Ann Berge

Shirley Ann Berge, a long time Mercer Island resident, passed away on June 6, 2013, in Overlake Hospital from pneumonia and acute respiratory failure.

Shirley was born to Margaret and Rudolf Zuhlke, in Syracuse, NY on Oct 8, 1930. After a few years, her parents divorced, and her mother took Shirley west to visit her sister and brother-in-law in Bellingham.

They eventually moved to Seattle, in order to improve her job prospects in the depths of the Depression. Shirley attended several grade schools, and then went to Broadway for two years until it closed. While there she pledged KN and enjoyed long lasting friendships with several of her classmates. She finally graduated from Lincoln High School in 1948.

She enrolled in the University of Washington, pledged Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, and continued classes until tuition funds ran out. She then worked at several local businesses, including The Seattle Times.

In 1953, she was a bridesmaid for one of her sorority sisters, who had invited her cousin, Gudmund Berge, to be an usher at her wedding. In 1955, she and Gudmund married and moved to Magnolia, where their first two children, Mark and Anne, were born.

In 1961, they moved to Mercer Island's west side, into a home designed and built by Gudmund, with Shirley selecting the interiors. Two more boys were born, Matthew and Rolfe, which made ours a full house.

After growing up as an only child of a single parent, Shirley found herself with four active children enrolled in Mercer Island schools,

a decided contrast to her upbringing. She helped schedule time and provisions for our growing family to enjoy doing things together. These include camping with a tent trailer, hiking, skiing, and taking trips to many of the natural wonders of the North West.

Once the children were all in school, she returned to the UW to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Later, she attended Bellevue College and obtained an Interior Design degree. In her lifelong quest to gain knowledge and experience, she worked as an administrative assistant for a variety of businesses and professions. An opportunity she couldn't resist was as an extra with dialog in a movie being filmed in Ballard.

Gudmund and she expanded their travels as their children became more independent. She would research world destinations and when we were In agreement, she handled the scheduling with our travel agent. We felt we should travel while our minds and bodies were capable of absorbing the culture and customs of different people and countries around the world. In our apartment is a world map that has red pins to highlight our travels with many wonderful memories.

We spent 50 years enjoying our view of Lake Washington, the Olympic Mountains, and the Blue Angels overhead. Our west patio was originally used for basket ball, volley ball, and badminton, and then later reconfigured to outdoor gatherings for family and friends with pergola, BBQ, water fountain, and plantings.

Due to medical issues, Shirley and I decided to downsize to Aljoya, a retirement community on Mercer Island, in October 2011. It was her choice and she was right again. The day after our 58th wedding anniversary, she was taken to Overlake Hospital by the Mercer Island Fire Dept and eleven days later she had left her loving family.

Shirley is survived by her husband, Gudmund; her son, Mark, (New Jersey); her daughter, Anne McIntosh, (Issaquah), along with son-in-law, Larry McIntosh, and grandsons, Jordan and Kyle McIntosh; her son, Matt, (Frisco, Texas), along with daughter-in-law, Wendi Berge, grand daughter Brynna, and grandson, Hayden Berge; her son, Rolfe, (San Francisco, CA).

In 2007, after learning about the University of Washington's School of Medicine Willed Body Program, Shirley said she liked the concept of using her body after death for medical or surgical teaching and research. We attended a memorial service at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery and Funeral Home for previous donors, and agreed we both would enroll in the program.

Shirley is now a participant in this program for the advancement of medical science and education. The memorial service there will be held in September.

Private services for her will be held during our annual week long Berge family vacation in Sun River, Oregon at the end of July.

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Published in The Seattle Times from July 6 to July 7, 2013
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