Kathleen Ann “Kathie” Berger, age 69 years, of Jefferson City, Mo., passed away Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at Boone Hospital in Columbia.
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Kathie was born March 9, 1950 in La Junta, Colorado the daughter of James R. and Sarah M. Gartside Crane. She was married on December 30, 1970 in La Junta, Colorado to Bruce Berger.
She was a 1968 graduate of La Junta High School and a 1972 graduate of Park College (now University), where she met her husband. It was there that she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in History, a passion she maintained throughout her life.
Kathie served in the United States Army Reserves in a medical unit. While in training with the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), Kathie took courses through Baylor University where she furthered her medical laboratory education.
As a veteran, Kathie had a deep love for her country. She was a dedicated patriot who believed it was her duty to help the country live up to the promise it made to all its citizens.
After moving to Jefferson City in 1978, Kathie went to work for Charles E. Still Hospital. She was employed as a Microbiologist with Still (later Capital Region Medical Center); she was a member of this team for thirty years until her retirement in 2012.
Kathie enjoyed straw bale gardening and native plants, an interest she pursued by completing the Master Gardener’s course. A lifelong learner, she was often found reading, doing genealogy research, and studying history. She particularly enjoyed getting lost in bookstores. Kathie was a devoted Democrat and was known for advocating for human rights.
Kathie was a selfless woman who was passionate about helping those in need. She shaved her head three times for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in order to raise money for childhood cancer research. She shaved most recently this past April at an event in Lee’s Summit, Mo. She also supported her nephew Stephen’s charity, Road Warrior Foundation, which provides adventure therapy to veterans with disabilities.
She had a deep love for the western United States and often planned vacations to see the majestic beauty of our National Parks. She particularly loved sandhill cranes, antelope, and otters. Some of her fondest memories were spent visiting her sister in Monterey Bay. Kathie’s family will miss her sense of humor and love for life.
Kathie was a member of the Jefferson City Host Lions Club. Past volunteer activities included river otter conservation, Heart of Missouri Girl Scout Council, and the Missouri State Archives where she helped digitize veteran records.
Survivors include: her husband of forty-eight years, Bruce Berger; one daughter, Jessica Troester and her husband Aaron of Blue Springs, Mo.; one sister, Cheryl McAuliffe of San Jose, Ca.; one brother, Tom Crane and his wife Penny of Jefferson City, Mo.; her brothers-in-law, Ken Berger of Clifton, Va. and Darrell Berger of Dillon, Co.; and her nieces and nephews, Randy Crane, Tracey Crane, Debbie Pitts, Natalie Kellen, Stephen Berger, and Owen Berger.
She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister-in-law, Joan Berger.
Visitation will be at Freeman Mortuary from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, 2019.
A Celebration of Life will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, 2019 in the Freeman Chapel with Celebrant Gara Loskill officiating. Military honors will follow her service at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research at 1333 S. Mayflower Avenue, Suite 400, Monrovia, Ca 91016; Road Warrior Foundation at 2581 Washington Road, Suite 225, Pittsburgh, Pa 15241; or the World Wildlife Fund at 1250 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Freeman Mortuary.