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"Will The Circle Be Unbroken?"

Berg Family at Christmas time

 Berg Family during Christmas Season of 1994.

(L-R Grandma Ellen, Daniel, Susan, Julie, Stan, June and David)

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"WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN?" - I have tried to tell the story of the original Berg Family “Core” of (10) ten and how the passing and loss of 6 members of this family has now resulted in only four (4) of the original “core” members still with us in March of 2013...Will our original Family Circle eventually, in that future someday, be once again unbroken?...In this story I have connected to the old favorite gospel song..."Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" October has been a very sad month for the Berg family...four of the six deaths took place in the month of October...

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"Will the Circle be Unbroken” is a Beautiful old gospel song that was first introduced in 1972 as a “Blue Grass” and “Country Western” album. It has always been one of my favorite songs since the time I first heard it. It is my impression that this song has also been a long time favorite of June’s.

This is one of the songs that we routinely featured at “June’s Gift of Music” to the Benedictine Nursing Home residents by her music group called “June’s Benedictine Blue Grass Five.” This is an hour long program that is presented on a quarterly basis to the residents of the Benedictine and is now in the 5th year of such music gifts by June.

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June's Gifts of Music to the Nursing Home Residents

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Will the Circle be Unbroken” when introduced, quickly became a favorite and was featured by such Blue Grass and Country Western artists as: Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson.

The original lyrics as written by A. P. Carter consisted of 5 basic verses and 6 chorus repeats.  I have heavily revised and rewritten the 5 basic verses in order to make them applicable to the Berg FamilyCore” …the result is 6 versus with 5 chorus repeats…while the verses in the Berg version are heavily rewritten, the chorus lines remain largely unchanged except for miner punctuation changes.

The Berg family started on 16 August of 1952 when June K. Rolstad married Stanton O. Berg in Bloomington, Illinois on a warm Saturday in the late summer of that year.

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The Story of June and Stan's Marriage

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Included in the original Berg Family Core” were June’s parents Haldis and Henry Rolstad and my parents Ellen and Tom Silbaugh”. June and Stan’s (4) four children are included in the total of the basic family “Core’s” (10) Ten members.

The “Core” family children from oldest to the youngest are David, Daniel, Susan and Julie.

This Berg Family Core” of (10) ten is made up of what I call the main family tree trunk and branches…of course as the family progressed and expanded, there was a natural filling out of smaller additional branches now made up of the marriage spouses and the resulting grandchildren. The result was a beautifully formed family tree. Unfortunately the ravages of time, aging, diseases and death took a heavy toll on the original tree as formed in the 1950’s and beyond... The original (10) ten is now only (4) four.

This beautiful old gospel song as revised asks the question, “will this family circle” as it once existed, again become an unbroken family circle as it once existed? This is a Christian family and the Christian Bible tells us that, yes, the family circle will be unbroken…at such a time as the core family all become of part of God’s bigger family in that Glory-land we call “Heaven.” We have only to look at the Bible... 

“in my father’s house are many mansions:...I go to prepare a place for you...”

John 14:2  (KJV)

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"Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, and those who enter shall find that they are neither unknown or unexpected."

Bishop J. C. Ryle  (1816 – 1900)

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Here is the song "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" as revised by Stan Berg to be more compatible with the events of the Berg family...a link to the Carter family singing the original version is found below it...

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Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

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 (Original lyrics by A. P. Carter – 1972)

(Rewritten by Stan Berg - 2013)

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 I was standing by a window,

on a sad and lonely day.

When I saw the hearse come rolling

To carry my Father Tom away!

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Will the circle be unbroken…

by and by Lord, by and by

There's a better home a-waiting.

In the sky Lord, in the sky.

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I was standing by a window

on a sad and lonely day.

When I saw the hearse come rolling

To carry my Mother Ellen away!

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Will the circle be unbroken…

by and by Lord, by and by

There's a better home a-waiting.

In the sky Lord, in the sky .

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I was standing by a window

on a sad and lonely day.

When I saw the hearse come rolling

To carry my Wife June away!

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Will the circle be unbroken…

by and by Lord, by and by

There's a better home a-waiting.

In the sky Lord, in the sky.

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I was standing by a window

on a sad and lonely day.

When I saw the hearse come rolling

To carry my Son David away!

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Will the circle be unbroken…

by and by Lord, by and by.

There's a better home a-waiting.

In the sky Lord, in the sky.

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I followed close behind them,

But I could not hide my sorrow…

When they laid them in their graves.

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We sang the songs of childhood

Hymns of faith that made us strong

Ones that Mother June had taught us...

We could hear the angels sing .

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Will the circle be unbroken…

by and by Lord, by and by.

There's a better home a-waiting.

In the sky Lord, in the sky

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For th original version by Johnny Cash and family:

"Will the Circle Be Unbroken"

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June Carter Cash’s Funeral – A Daughter’s Comments

Johnny Cash recorded more than 1,500 songs, had fourteen number one hits, was awarded eleven Grammies and sold 50 million albums. Much of the credit goes to his wife June, a committed Christian. At her funeral, Johnny’s daughter said:

“In her eyes there were only two kinds of people: those she knew and loved, and those she didn’t know and loved. She looked for the best in everyone; it was a way of life for her. If you pointed out that a particular person was perhaps not deserving of her love, she would say, “Well, honey, we just have to lift him up.” She was forever lifting people up. It took me a long time to understand that what she did when she lifted you up, was to mirror the very best parts of you back to yourself. She was like a spiritual detective; she saw into all your dark corners and deep recesses saw your potential, and the gifts you didn’t even know you possessed, and she lifted them up for you to see. She did it for all of us, daily, continuously. But her great mission and passion was lifting up my dad. If being a wife were a corporation June would have been the CEO. It was her most treasured role. She’d begin every day by saying, “What can I do for you, John?” Her love filled up every room he was in and lightened every path he walked. Her devotion created a sacred exhilarating place for them to live out their married life. My daddy has lost his dearest companion, his musical counterpart, his soul-mate and best friend.” …That is the power of a great relationship!”

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Johnny Cash… his faith and his last days

Shortly before his death on September 12, 2003, from complications of diabetes and four months after the death of his wife, June Carter Cash, (Another June) He was 71, and she 73.  Kurt Loder, a film critic, author, and columnist, visited Cash’s estate in Tennessee and talked with Cash about his career, his music and the prospect of death. This conversation would be Cash’s final interview.

At the time of the interview, Cash was recovering from the shock of his wife’s death in May 2003. (longtime wife and performing partner June Carter Cash) he missed her deeply…

Considered a man of great faith, Cash knew that the end was coming, but he didn’t fear death and was comfortable with the idea of his own mortality.

 “I expect my life to end pretty soon. I’m 71 years old, but I have unshakeable faith,”…“I’ve never turned my back on God. I never thought that God wasn’t there. He’s my counselor, my wisdom — all the good things in my life come from him.”

When Loder asked, “Where do you think we go, his prompt reply was...“We all hope to go to Heaven,”

Family Comments: …”...he held strong Christian beliefs and often quoted the Bible…His faith seemed to grow stronger as his body grew weaker…In his final months, he had a light box that projected pages of the Bible onto a screen so he could read it. He also spoke regularly with Billy Graham, "someone whom he'd always relied on as a rock to lean on in times of trouble,… that's the only way he made it…he had the utmost faith in God and he looked to God for his faith and direction."

The recent loss of his wife June was thought to have hastened his death...His daughter reported that he often wept for his wife June late at night… After her death, he was lonely and his frail condition worsened. Although he was going blind, he had his daughter Cindy bring him more photographs of June. He even had an artist paint her face on the elevator doors at his office. "He missed her so bad…He sobbed for her daily. He would pick up the phone to talk to her as if she was on the other end."

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Johnny Cash on Grief Loss

"There's no way around grief and loss: you can doge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully come out the other side.  The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left."

"Johnny Cash"

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The Bible Says that: Someday the Circle Will be Unbroken

The Bible describes David's grieving for a dying son...after the son's death the Bible tells us and promises us that while those members of our family who have passed on before us, cannot return to us, however, some day we  will go to them and be reunited with them...2 Samuel  12: 23 (KJV):

 

" But now he is dead...Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, (one day - NLT) but he shall not return to me"

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The Berg Family "In Memoriam" Honor Roll

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Of the six deaths recorded here, two (2) were avoidable and preventable. Father Tom and Son David both died from tobacco related illnesses. Father Tom developed Emphysema from smoking that slowly progressed until his death. Son David developed Lung and Lymph node Cancer from which he died less the six (6) months after diagnosis.

Only two deaths were from one of the two (2) major causes of death...Grandfather Henry died from a Heart attack and Grandma Haldis died from a severe Stroke that paralyzed half of her body leaving her with out speech and gradually taking her life after many months.

Grandma Ellen and Mother June both died from the horrors of Alzheimer's over a period of several years.. the disease for which this webstie is dedicated to ending

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 Henry and Haldis Rolstad

June's Father and Mother - Henry and Haldis Rolstad

(Father-Grandpa Henry died 7 October 1969 and Mother-Grandma Haldis died 28 August 1988)

(Father-Grandpa Henry died of a heart attack - age 78 (-14 days) - Mother-Grandma Haldis died of Stroke complications - age 83)

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The Story of June's Parents and their Passing

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Tom and Ellen's Wedding photo

 Stan's Father and Mother - Tom and Ellen Silbaugh - June 1945

 (Father-Grandpa Tom died 3 July 1988 and Mother-Grandma Ellen died 21 October 2007)

(Father-Grandpa Tom died - Heart attack-Emphysema - age 81 and Mother-Grandma Ellen died -Alzheimer's complications - age 98)

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Father's Day Tribute to Father Tom in Memoriam

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Mother's Day Tribute to Mother Ellen in Memoriam

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June and David

Stan's Wife June - June and Stan's Son David

(Wife-Mother-Grandma June died 23 October 2008 and Son-Father-Brother David died 18 October 2012)

(June died from Complications of Alzheimer's at  - 16 days of age 81 and David died of Lymph Node-Lung Cancer, age 65)

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Mother's Day Tribute to Mother-Grandmother June in Memoriam

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David's Obituary and Story

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Bible References

Bible

"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."  (John 3: 16 - KJV)

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In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  (John 14: 2,3 - KJV)

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Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?”   (Acts 7,49,50 - KJV)

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Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. (1 Thessalonians 4:17 - KJV)

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And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”  (Revelation 21:1-5 – KJV)

 

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Reader's Comments

 

Amy Stiel Almas  - Waterford, Michigan - (25 March 2013): "I love it. Thank you."

Dianne Cogar  - Springfield, Ohio - (25 March 2013): "As our family dwindles our hearts grow weak and weary. The hugs grow less, one by one...our eyes become more teary. Time is all we have to cope as floodgates open wide. Heartaches grow in larger scope And tears turn into tides. Memories all grow sweeter. Though stories fade and swell .Then thoughts allow the heart to speak and cheeks turn rose from pale as time becomes our looking glass. Our hearts become their shield and worry weakens with every tale and smiles begin to yield as our family tapers off."

Lin Schmidt  - Anoka, Minnesota - (25 March 2013): "Amen,  I totally believe we will be together again with our lost loved ones."

Dave Glesne  - Fridley, Minnesota - (25 March 2013): "I think the Bible Quotations are good and appropriate.  You have done a lot of work on this page!...to be commended...Pastor Dave."

Stephanie Grier Bunker  - Prescott, Arizona - (26 March 2013): "I'm sorry for your loss, life is tragic.  And what a beautiful family."

Karen Briesemeister - Fridley, Minnesota - (30 March 2013): "Thank you for sending this, I appreciated the link to the Johnny Cash recording.  It's a beautiful and comforting song which I have  also long enjoyed.  As we celebrate Easter, we can rest in the "blessed assurance" that our family circles will be unbroken."

Marsha McKneely Ault  - Nacogdoches, Texas - (14 October 2013): "Loved your poem too."...(5 November 2013): "Families are meant to be together forever."

Janice Kennedy   - Coon Rapids, Minnesota - (14 October 2013): "I love this picture. It was taken the evening before Tom and I got married. I'll say extra prayers for you over the next few weeks."

Bonnie Seip  - Ottsville, Pennsylvania - (15 October 2013): "A Beautiful Family Pic ! Thinking of you Mr Berg and sending many thoughts and Prayers to you .... God Bless."

Elaine Oakes  - Nottingham, United Kingdom - (19 October 2013): "I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am for your loss, my heart goes out to you."

Donald Hiatt  - Clovis, California - (5 November 2013): "My mom sang this song to me when I was a small child.  Thanks for sharing, both the memory and the hope of being reunited one glorious day...Don."

Terry Shepherd  - Warsaw, Indiana - (5 November 2013): "I really like this Stanton. Thank you so much for sharing with me...I love the song."

Evelyn Kidd  - Danville, Kentucky - (28 March 2015): "I walk around singing this now my mom is done gone im trying my best to meet my mom and daddy one day."

Bessie Peery  - Nashville, Tennessee - (28 March 2015): "Thanks Stan for the post, God Bless us All."

Ena Castle  - Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia  - (28 March 2015): "This is just beautiful Stanton I see both you and June in there.hugs Gods blessings to you.with each posting I know a little more. of your ever lasting faith in God. Hugs Ena." 

Mary Wall  - Hamptonville, North Carolina - (28 March 2015): " Beautiful."

 

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June's Passing

June 1994

After an almost 12 year journey into the shadows of Alzheimer's, early one morning in late October 2008, an exhausted June felt God's gentle touch on her shoulder and heard the words: "Come Home June!" As June lay like a wounded soldier on a battlefield, it was God's Angels that ushered June into a Heavenly Kingdom to the sound of a chorus of Angels...and into June's new home, a "Mansion on the Hilltop", where there is no pain, nor illness nor tears...June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website in the drop down menu under the "In Memoriam" label - just Click on:

"June K. (Rolstad) Berg - In Memoriam"