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Obituary for Della B. Berg


After a long, full life, Della Billings (Feak) Berg, 100, of Bangor, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 30, 2020, at the Bethany St. Joseph Care Center in La Crosse. Della was born in La Crosse on February 22, 1920, to Geneva (Jensen) and James Blair Feak. She was named after her maternal grandmother, Della (Billings) Jensen. The Feak family lived at 912 King St. in La Crosse, where Della attended the Washburn School. In 1930, the family moved to the Feak farm in Burns where Della’s great grandfather, John Feak, had first settled in the mid-1800s. Della finished elementary school at the one-room White School in Burns. Della’s mother passed away when she was 14 years old. In the absence of her mother, she was taken under the wing of her beloved maternal aunt, Effie (Jensen) Jewett, who lived on a neighboring farm. Della’s father, her siblings, Bob and Cynthia, and cousins Lucian Jewett and Mardelle Jensen also played an influential role in young Della’s life. In her teens, Della was a church organist for the Burns Valley Lutheran Church. She graduated from Bangor High School in 1937. Soon after, she took classes in business and bookkeeping, and worked for the Winfield Christopherson Insurance Agency. During World War II, Della moved to Tampa, Florida, where on May 13, 1942, she married Oscar G. Berg, her high school classmate. They had four children: David, Carolyn, Cristine, and Syda. In 1946, Oscar and Della returned to Bangor and bought their first home. Della described those years following the war, as a “very lovely time.” Della was the editor of the Bangor Independent from 1965 to 1971, during the era of manual typesetting. She wrote many articles focusing on the history of the Bangor area. She authored a column, “A-Line-O-Type” as well as a feature titled “Way Back When.” Della served as Village of Bangor clerk/treasurer from 1972 to 1991, succeeding her husband in that role. She was a member of the Bangor American Legion Auxiliary, the Bangor Civic Club, the Bangor Garden Club, and the St. Paul's Ladies Aid. She served on the Boards of the La Crosse County Library and the La Crosse County Historical Society. She enjoyed an active social life in the community, including longstanding camaraderie with her dear friends in their pizza club. Della was instrumental in founding the Bangor and Area Historical Society. In 2014, the society acknowledged her contributions with the BAHS service award. Throughout her life, Della was an avid reader. She loved history and genealogy, and made trips to Norway and upstate New York to explore her family origins. In 2014, after years of research and writing, Della published We Remember: An Oral History and Genealogy of the Feak and Jensen Families. In 1995, Della was interviewed by Margaret Larson for the UW-La Crosse Special Collections oral history program. Excerpts appeared in Larson’s 1996 book, For the Common Good, A History of Women’s Roles in La Crosse County, 1920-1980. In 2015, Della was interviewed by the Bangor and Area Historical Society, as part of their efforts to gather oral histories of Bangor during World War II. Della was preceded in death by her husband, Oscar; daughters, Carolyn and Syda; a son, David; parents, Geneva and Blair; a brother, Robert; and a sister, Cynthia. She is survived by her daughter: Cristine (James) Prucha; nieces and nephews: Kathryn Walters, Matthew (Maribeth) Eggen, Christopher (Loren) Eggen, Jennifer (Dale) Baker, Timothy (Tamara) Gaylord, and Rebecca Hall; and grandnieces and nephews: Patricia (Robert) Webb, Jennifer Smith, Brian Smith, Blair Eggen, Sarah Eggen, Christine Eggen, Christopher Eggen, Hannah Eggen, Nicolas Perez, Miguel Perez, Natalie Baker, Scott Baker, Brooke Gaylord, and Morgan Gaylord. Della will be remembered by her family for her love of learning, quiet humor, and gentle ways. The family would like to thank all who visited, sent cards, and held Della in their thoughts and prayers. Heartfelt thanks to Pastor Roy Hefti for his prayers and visits and also to the exceptional staff at Bethany St. Joseph Care Center, for their compassionate care. In accordance with CDC guidelines for public gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a small graveside service will be held in the Burns Cemetery near Bangor. Rev. Roy W. Hefti will officiate. Memorials are preferred to St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church or school, 401 16th Ave. N, Bangor, WI 54614, and the Bangor and Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 15, Bangor, WI 54614, or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home, Bangor Chapel, is assisting the family. To express condolences online please visit www.jandtfredrickson.com.