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Arthur R. Bergen

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Arthur R. Bergen Obituary

April 7, 1923 - July 19, 2014

Arthur R. Bergen passed away on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at Kaiser Hospital, Oakland after a brief bout with kidney disease following a successful heart valve surgery. He was 91 years old. Arthur died in the company of his loving wife of 62 years, and his sons, daughters in law and grandchildren.

Arthur joined the U.S. Army officer training corps immediately following undergraduate graduation, and emerged as an officer. His service included radar training during WW2 and with the Signal Corps in the Army of Occupation in Germany after the war ended. He was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant.

Art was an engineer by instinct as well as by education, having achieved his doctorate in electrical engineering from Columbia University in New York. From his youth, his interest was in bringing the conveniences of modern life to less developed parts of the world. As a field engineer for Westinghouse his first foreign assignment was in Brazil where he worked on the installation of a generator on a jungle river. Thereafter his jobs took him to other remote locations both in the U.S. and abroad.

In 1952 he married (Wilma-) Jane Stockman and in 1958 took his growing family of wife and sons, John, Roger, and James, to California, where he had been hired as assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at U.C. Berkeley. 

From 1963 to '65 he and the family lived in India as participants in a U.S. Aid program to help establish the Indian Institute of Technology @ Kanpur. Art focused on faculty self-government, assisting in development of the Senate Manual, a change from the traditional hierarchical system then practiced at Indian universities.

During the ensuing 35 years, Arthur served for ten years also as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, and as visiting Program Director for the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. from 1992 to '93.

As an academic, Art had the opportunity of sabbatical leaves for purposes of research: He was Visiting Professor at Imperial College, London, England, 1968, '78, and '79, and in Padua, Italy at the Instituto de Elettrontecnica ed Elettronica, in 1973. The areas of his research were in Control and Power Systems; he wrote Power Systems Analysis, Prentice Hall, Inc. 1985.

Arthur had a life-long love of travel, and he and Jane took countless trips together and with the family, touching on nearly all continents, including Antarctica. They were always planning their next adventure. Exploring and learning with his family was always his first priority

His eagerness for accomplishment extended to his "fix-it" response to any problem: the house and home were major passions, whether for repair or design. Their 100 year old Berkeley house was continually improved and refurbished. One of his major accomplishments was designing and building a hexagonal redwood cabin on the family property on the Sonoma coast. Until his last few months, Art was remarkably physically and mentally active, looking forward to enjoying life in all its dimensions. He was a learned warm and sociable family man with an excellent sense of humor and will be remembered and missed dearly by all of his friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the East Bay Regional Park Trail Maintenance Fund. Checks can be made out to: EBRPD-Ivan Dickson Volunteer Trail Maintenance Program Fund, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA 94605.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 27, 2014
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