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June K. Berg - 81 Years of Age

                              June's picture 1994

June, you are 81 years of age and near the end of your 11th year with Alzheimer’s. Though you are weak and weary of the struggle, you are still holding onto life with a fragile grip. 

June, as I look back over your life, I see it as a reflection of doing God’s work with no thought of praise, reward or hesitation. You “walked the walk.” In your humility you always made light of and ignored your own achievements.

I remember the time a few years ago when I had received some special recognition - you gave me a card that read:

 Stan: I am very proud of all your accomplishments and these all pass on to me and make me feel like a queen.”

June, I wish I had sent you such a card in return to tell you how proud you have made me. While I now tell you often, Alzheimer’s always gets in the way.

 When God some day scans the record books of our lives, he will not be impressed with mine but I know he will smile as he reads yours.

God will see you during the years that you served as a volunteer to the Lynwood Nursing Home every Wednesday evening and as you had dinner and visitation with the residents.

He will see your participation in the Redeemer afternoon ministry to the Fridley Convalescent Nursing Home.  

He will see you as one of the volunteers when the church provided periodic food and assistance to the Marie Sandvik Mission in downtown Minneapolis 

God will see your service as a Girl Scout Leader for the Redeemer sponsored Girl Scout Troop. He will see you respond when the Church needed a volunteer to teach third grade Sunday school. He will see you volunteer for “Meals on Wheels.” He will see you perform in the church “Bell Choir” and he will find that you served on the Redeemer Church Board. He will note that you even found the time to be active in the Church “Ruth” and later “Rebecca” Circles and took your turn in hosting meetings in our home. 

God will both see and hear Dean Eberhardt of Redeemer as he tells how you were paired with him as an evangelism team to call on the church members and visitors. That you were a part of Dr. Kennedy’s “Evangelism Explosion” program promoted by our church. He will hear Dean describe you:

 

“I remember for June, presenting the gospel was a very natural thing for her to do. People felt comfortable and not threatened by her because she was so genuine and related effectively with them. Her love for the Lord shone through her as she conversed with the people...she had a special spirit about her and always smiling.”

 

God will see how you changed my life and brought me into regular church attendance without ever nagging or cajoling me. I was a person who only went to church on the special holidays. I was just too busy or had other frivolous excuses. You set a good example for me by going every Sunday on your own and you always prayed for me. Although I did not realize it at the time, you were using very subtle and effective psychology on me. You knew that I spent much of my time in my downstairs office. You knew that I frequently used the little bathroom next to the office. You arranged to place a mounted and attractive plaque with the quotation from John 3:16 on the bathroom wall. It was so located that every time I used the bathroom, I was looking directly at the quotation. I may not have known much about the Bible but I really knew John 3:16.(KJV):

  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

God would see that special Sunday after you had left for church and as I was sitting in my office -  how I thought about you and one of my work slogans -“first things first” and that I was really not doing this in my life. How I had a sudden deep feeling of shame in that I had for years let you go to church alone. Suddenly I got up and went to church that day and have done so regularly ever since. God will see later how happy you were and how when you later told others about this change in my life you would throw up your arms and laughing you would exclaim:

                                            and suddenly there he was! 

Just a few Sundays ago on October 5th, you and I celebrated our 50th anniversary as members of the Redeemer Lutheran Church. 

God will see how you gave me the most important verse in the Bible. Reverend Jerry Falwell in his last sermon before he died said: - if the Bible were a financial statement, John 3:16 would be the Bottom Line. He also said that when looking for a synopsis or summary of the bible, John 3:16 is the Bible’s super summary and if you understand and believe this passage you have got it all. 

God will see how you honored, loved and cared for your own mother. Your mom suffered a devastating stroke resulting in loss of speech and partial paralysis. For almost two years until your mom passed away, you faithfully drove every week from home (200 miles round trip) to see your mother in Wisconsin (spending a few days with her) to bring her cheer and to assist with her care. Her nurses reported that your mom knew the time and day of the week that you would arrive and would be sitting by the window watching for you.  

God will see your grateful heart as he hears you thank him amid tears at the meal grace periods – “for all he has done for us” – even when you were deep in the shadows of Alzheimer’s.

As God closes your book of life, I am sure he will say:

                               Well done, thou good and faithful servant. 

Thank you June for spending most of your life with me, (56 years) for loving me unconditionally and for giving me so much more than I could ever have imagined  - as I have said so many times before,

                      "Thank you sweetheart for making my life an adventure." 

                                                      Stan 

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Notes: Before this could be published, June passed away from the complications of Alzheimer’s disease, on October 23rd, just two weeks before her 81st birthday. It was almost exactly one year before in October 2007 that my mother Ellen F. Silbaugh (June’s mother in law) also passed away from the complications of this terrible disease. With 420,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s every year, our congress of incompetents continue to fund their own “pork projects” rather then properly fund Alzheimer’s research and put an end to this continuing tragedy.

June passed away after almost eleven years of an exhausting battle with Alzheimer’s. June's last three years and 8 plus months were in an Alzheimer’s facility. Her last years were at the Alzheimer’s “Villa” of the Benedictine Health Care Center of Innsbruck, New Brighton, MN.

See the notice of June's death as it was published in the Minneapolis Star - Tribune. It is located on the top blue navigation strip under the label: “In Memoriam”. Click on:

June K. (Rolstad) Berg – In Memoriam”.

 

(Published - Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Variety Section, Sunday November 9th, 2008)