1929 - 2017
Selmer Matthew (“Matt”) Berge, M.D., age 88, of Edina, MN and La Mesa, CA, passed away in Edina on 9/7/2017 of congestive heart failure. He was born 3/18/1929 in Fort Dodge, IA, to Pastor Selmer Alonzo Eugene Berge and Ida Hatlestad Berge. Matt grew up in the parsonage of First Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND, and graduated from Fargo Central High School (1946), Concordia College – Moorhead (1950), and Northwestern University (1954).
While an intern at Evanston Hospital, IL, he met his wife, Nancy (nee Duchaine), of Escanaba, MI, a Registered Nurse, marrying her in 1955. During Public Health service on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona (1955-1957), his son Peter was born in 1956. After this, he did Internal Medicine training at the Mayo Clinic (1957-1960) in Rochester, MN, where his son Mark was born in 1960. Matt and family then moved to the San Diego, CA area, where he began private practice in Internal Medicine and his son Eric was born in 1961.
Beloved by his patients as a quintessential physician of knowledge, skill, and caring, he worked until 1992, with Nancy as his office R.N. for most of the latter two decades. Beyond the thousands of lives he touched as a doctor, Matt was devoted to family and friends, adding so much to their lives, and took loving care of Nancy until her death in 2001. Continuing to live in the California family home, he made frequent trips to Minnesota for time with family, as well as other trips with them through the years, living out his love of travel and photography.
A lifelong learner, Matt constantly read and studied about medicine and a wide range of other subjects. Too, he attended many concerts (classical, opera, organ, and more), films, and theatre events, as well as numerous art and museum exhibitions, with family, friends, or on his own. Faith held a central place in his life, with churchgoing, devotional reading, and prayer all regular practices for him. Tending his garden and fruit trees through nearly sixty years, he and others enjoyed the wealth of his delicious produce. Matt also loved fine wine, food, and conversation. His interest in the world and people seemed to know no bounds, and the warmth and caring which fueled the work he loved also fed his relationships throughout life.
Health difficulties brought Matt to Edina’s 7500 York Cooperative in 2015, with that bright community and proximity to family enriching his final years. Participating in activities, committee work, and friendship at York, and in time with family, he continued to touch lives and contribute to a better world. Including Nancy, Matt was preceded in death by his parents, his three sisters (Ruth, Elsie, and Phoebe), his daughter-in-law Debbie Sit, and is survived by his three sons, daughter-in-law Tammy Schmidt Berge, and Eric and Tammy’s children (Kevin, Laura, and Katherine), as well as nieces Kimberly Randolph Loccisano and Jacqueline Randolph Woomer and their families.
Many will long miss Matt’s smile and gentle being, and at the same time feel grateful for having known so fine a man. Washburn-McReavy’s Edina Chapel managed cremation, with remains privately buried at the family plot in Alpine, CA. Please direct any memorials to art/music/theatre organizations, ELCA World Hunger or Lutheran Disaster Response, Mayo Clinic, Selmer and Ida Berge Scholarship for organ students at Concordia College – Moorhead, or charity of choice. Share thoughts and memories at www.washburn-mcreavy.com.
Remembering Selmer Matthew “Matt” Berge, M.D., of Edina, MN, and La Mesa, CA, who passed away in Edina on 9/7/2017, at age 88. Family and friends continue to miss the physical presence of this wonderful man, yet remain thankful for all he contributed to our lives, and to the world, and for how he remains with us in spirit.
Obituary courtesy of Minneapolis StarTribune