Antique Vintage 14

James Mark Berger

May 10, 2022


James Mark Berger, age 90, of Lombard, died on May 10, 2022.

Jim was the former chairman of foreign languages at York High School in Elmhurst, IL. He was a French teacher and was on York’s faculty for 38 years. While he loved the French language and culture, he was also supportive of York’s other foreign languages, especially Latin. He taught AP French for many years. In retirement he joined a small cadre of francophone friends who took many advance literature courses at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago.

Jim was born in Deadwood in the Black Hills of South Dakota on July 22nd, 1931. He maintained a lifelong fascination for this Gold Rush town and its history, and knew well the lives of its colorful pioneers, past and present. His parents were Harry Stone Berger and Lucille Walter Berger. His father was Deadwood’s Superintendent of Schools for nearly 40 years. His sister, Marilyn Berger Jordan, lives in the Seattle suburb of Mukilteo. Most of his nieces and nephews also live in the Seattle area; the late Bruce (Tina) Jordan, Ann Jordan, David Jordan, and Joan Jordan (Tom) Eilertson, and nephew Mark (Mary) Jordan of Southampton, NJ. He has several great nieces and nephews as well.

Jim graduated from Deadwood High School and spent one year at the University of Nebraska before transferring to Central Methodist College in Fayette, MO, where he obtained his BA degree. Following graduation in 1953, he joined the US Army and served mostly at Camp Rucker in Alabama. After his discharge from the Army, he taught at Kemmerer, WY, before attending Northwestern University for a master’s degree in English. He then joined York High School in Elmhurst. Jim had taken a good deal of French as an undergraduate, and with an increased national demand for foreign language instruction, York sent him to the Université Laval in Quebec City for three summers to become fluent in French. He also attended University of Toulouse in France and spent a year in Belgium on a Fulbright Fellowship. This inspired a love of European travel nearly every summer for many years, alternating with summer road trips in the U. S. and Canada, especially to Deadwood.

In 1974, after returning from service as a medic in Vietnam and then obtaining a master’s degree in Health Administration, James (Jim) Drury headed for a job in Chicago with a national healthcare association. He knew no one in the area. Friends suggested he contact Jim Berger, who could show him around town. They soon became partners, and a short time later bought a home in Lombard. Jim Berger loved to garden, and he soon filled the flower beds with lots of plantings. He also loved Victorian-era antiques and art, so the house eventually became a treasure-trove of both. Another love was travel and teachers’ summer breaks were great for exploration. In February they would head for the warmth and enjoyment of Key West and Naples, Florida, for more than 25 years.

Jim Berger started attending Church of the Ascension, the venerable Anglo-Catholic institution on LaSalle Street in Chicago occasionally in 1969, during Father Orrick’s rectorship. He introduced Jim Drury to Ascension in 1975 and they became faithful attendees of the Solemn High Mass at 11:00 AM on Sundays and were active as vestry members and in social activities. At his death, Jim Berger was one of the most senior members. He was a long-time supporter of its stellar music program and of its Society of Mary.

“The Jims” not only travelled into Chicago for church, but they were also active participants in Chicago’s vibrant arts organizations. They were long-time subscribers to the Lyric Opera, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Music of the Baroque, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Grant Park Orchestra summer programs, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many others.

Jim Berger passed away in his sleep on the night of May 9/10, 2022, in his 90th year.

Deborah Rine, one of his former co-workers at York, writing from retirement in Florida “captured Jim well:

“Monsieur Berger was a wonderful, caring, demanding, helpful and thoughtful Department Chairman! He was an excellent French teacher and continued to pursue his love of the language for years after his retirement. For me, he was also a good friend. I wish I had seen more of him for these last few years”.

A Visitation will be held on Friday, May 20th, from 3 – 8 PM at Brust Funeral Home, 135 S. Main St., Lombard. On Saturday, May 21st, Lying-In-State from 11 AM, followed by a Solemn Requiem Mass 11:30 AM at the Church of the Ascension, 1133 N. LaSalle Blvd, Chicago,  The funeral will be live-streamed at:

Requiescat in pace Jim Berger.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art, 411 Central Methodist Square, Fayette, MO 65248, Deadwood History, Inc., 150 Sherman St, Deadwood, SD 57732, ChildrenUP, 481 W. Alma Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126, or St. Anthony of Padua Food Pantry at Church of the Ascension, 1133 N. LaSalle Blvd, 60610-2601, are appreciated.

Info or 888-629-0094.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James, please visit our floral store.


May 20, 2022

3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Brust Funeral Home
135 S. Main St.
Lombard, IL 60148

Lying in State
May 21, 2022

11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Church of the Ascension
1133 N LaSalle Dr
Chicago, IL 60618

Funeral Mass
May 21, 2022

11:30 AM
Church of the Ascension
1133 N LaSalle Dr
Chicago, IL 60618


481 W. Alma Ave, Elmhurst IL 60126

St. Anthony of Padua Food Pantry at Church of the Ascension
1133 N. LaSalle Blvd, Chicago IL 60610-2601

Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art
411 Central Methodist Square, Fayette MO 65248

Deadwood History, Inc.
150 Sherman St, Deadwood SD 57732

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