Jeffrey Berger
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Berger, Jeffrey Albert On March 16th, Jeff died tragically, leaving behind a loving family and countless friends. Born in Evanston and raised in Wilmette, Illinois, he graduated from Northwestern University and moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to pursue a career in real estate, much of which recently has focused on the Long Beach community. Jeff's wife Jennifer was his best friend, mother of his three sons Garrett, Jack, and Reid, and the love of his life. He is survived by his wife and sons, mother Diane Siegman, father Robert Berger, sisters Barbara Berger Maes (Luc), Wendy Berger Shapiro (David) and Erica Berger, nieces Connelley and Sophie, and nephew Julien. The memorial service will be held Sunday, March 20, 2011 at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary at 11:00 am. Donations can be made in Jeff's name to the City of Hope and the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles.

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Published in Chicago Sun-Times on Mar. 20, 2011.
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38 entries
March 14, 2021
On this anniversary of Jeff's passing, I again want to send my thoughts to Jeff's sisters and family. Jeff was an amazing friend, who I think of often. I consider myself very blessed to have known Jeff, and shared so many happy memories of my time with him. He may be gone, but I will never forget his dynamic, positive soul.
John Green
Friend
March 13, 2021
Jeff was a wonderful friend to our son, Michael, who died in 1995. Jeff and Mike were part of a foursome of good friends from the New Trier High School days. I remember Jeff's very kind visit to Michael several days before Mike died in the hospital . It was a very caring visit filled with compassion!
Geraldine piorkowski
March 13, 2019
Jeffrey was a wonderful friend to our son Michael, who died in 1995. Jeff, Mike, Clyde, and Joe were a group of New Trier friends who were close to each other and cared about each other. I always remember Jeff's visit to the hospital to visit Michael just a day or two before Michael died. Jeff was a very loving man. Gerry Piorkowski
Geraldine piorkowski
Friend
May 4, 2011
Barb
I just heard about the passing of your brother on a recent trip to Chicago. I was shocked and overwhelmed with sadness. Yet at the same time I was filled with fond memories of Jeff. He was one of those people that was radiant and full of hope. He always had a smile even when times were difficult and sometimes sad. There were moments when he would surprise you, as the day he showed up on my birthday with front row tickets to Peter Gabriel as he knew I was feeling down. I think Jeff was one of those special people that come into our lives to remind us of the possibilities. I am so lucky he was a friend as he affected me with his kindness and compassion. I am sorry for your loss and I know he will be missed. Let's keep his memory alive by taking care of one another. I am sure that is what he would want. With all my love and hope. Lorenzo Rodriguez
Lorenzo Rodriguez
May 3, 2011
Dear Barb, Luc, and the Berger family,

I was so incredibly sad to hear this news today. I was friends with Barb in Chicago in the early 90's when we worked at Carl Hammer Gallery together and I met her charming, wonderful brother at that time. They were an enviable brother sister duo and I really enjoyed being around them.

I never saw Jeff without a smile on his face, never heard him utter a mean word about anyone, and never heard Barb speak about him with anything but admiration and appreciation.

As I look at his picture, a picture that remarkably could have been taken 20 years ago, I realize that in all of these years I've still never met anyone with the same amount of benevolent ease. He will be missed by me and anyone else who was lucky enough to have spent time with him.

I send my sincere condolences and my loving thoughts to the entire Berger family during this very difficult time.
Jamie Kroul Beck
April 9, 2011
I knew Jeffery from high school, college at Indiana University. We made some Bandana's together. He was a brilliant man. We toured around the United States together. We went to some great concerts together. He will be missed by all. His kindness and sincerity will be missed. He was a very Charismatic individual. All I can say is you are in the Hall of Souls. He will always be on my Heart and Soul.
Rex
Rex Balz
April 4, 2011
I offer my deepest sympathies to Jeff's family, and those of us who enjoyed his friendship. Jeff was a good man. A good friend, with true class, whose sense of humor was infectious, Jeff was good company anywhere his limitless energy took him. I shared countless laughs with Jeff, at moments of brotherhood, ridiculousness, sincerity, philosophy, and exposure to Jerry Garcia. Jeff knew how to enjoy himself in the best ways of true humanity. When Jeff came out to L.A., he was the first person I knew out there who truly appreciated fine art. He could hit one from the top of the key with grace and loved a good long run. Jeff was comfortable in his spirituality and encouraged it in others. His genuine enthusiasm for life, learning, and everyone around him doing well, is just too rare in this life and I was lucky to be his friend. I wish I could hear him shout "GREEN BEAN" at me one more time, so I could feel that light shine on me again. Rest in Peace, El Jefe.
John Green
March 31, 2011
Dear Berger Family and Friends:

Losing Jeff took the wind out of me, for sure. Jeff and I were fraternity brothers in college. Jeff was quick with a smile and always optimistic. One spring, he almost convinced me to hit the road with him to sell tie-die garments on Shakedown Street. His business plan was sound, but it sounded like a long strange trip, so I had to decline. When you live with a person in tight quarters over a number of years, you get to know that person's core values. ATO loved Jeff. We knew him to be a kind soul with great spirit. Our brotherhood has suffered a great loss.
Gary Siegel
March 29, 2011
I was shocked and saddened to hear about Jeff. My first time to meet jeff was through Ripley when we crashed unexpected at the house. Jeff was a great host and a family man who loved his wife and boys. I will miss our golf games, business talk and a few cold beverages. My prayers go out to Jennifer and the boys. We will keep you in our prayers.
Jason Black
March 28, 2011
Dear Berger Family,

I was shocked and sadden to hear of Jeff’s passing and I am so very sorry to all of you. Jeff was one of my earliest friends of my childhood and was just a genuine warm guy that everyone seemed to like.

He was always a terrific passionate competitor as I have great memories of playing basketball, football, street and ice hockey, etc… with him in Wilmette and then taking long runs with him in the Chicago in our 30’s .

He was always quick with a smile and showed his concern that all was going well in your life.

I will miss him. My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief and I express my deepest condolences.
Howie Hammersley
March 24, 2011
I was incredibly saddened by this horrible tragedy. I was out of town and just got back. Jeff was one of the most first class clients that I have ever dealt with in banking. He was an equally fine person and I will forever cherish the times we spent together at lunches or playing golf. I keep with me many things I learned for this great client and friend.

Lew Murez
Calif Bank & Trust
Los Angeles, CA
Lew Murez
March 23, 2011
As short of a time that i knew Jeff everytime he came by Golfsmith he always was a fun man with a smile on his face and a great presence. I took the news with great shock, disbelief and then tears because all thou he was a customer i thought of him as a friend. Always wanting the latest gear in JL. My condolences to his family. he will be missed....
CINDY PARTIDA
March 23, 2011
I had the pleasure of knowing Jeff via Ripley McWilliams and spent some great times with him on the golf course at Austin Country Club. Jeff was an incredible person and the brief time spent with him was a pure blessing. When I think of Jeff I will remember his infectious smile
Greg Meserole
March 22, 2011
To the family of Jeff Berger, Heather and I were so shocked to learn of the tragic diaster. I saw the name in the Desert Sun paper and only today was able to connect the dots that Jeff was our neighbor at Mission Hills. He will be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.

Douglas & Heather Greene 705 Inverness
Douglas/Heather Greene
March 22, 2011
Such a kind and loving person, husband and friend. We shared a special sunday brunch with he and his beautiful family recently, and we will always remember that day. Thank you for touching our lives. Heather, Fabio and Marly (Guga and Monique send thier love as well.)
Heather Eggers
March 22, 2011
I was shocked to learn of the passing of such an incredible person. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff through my cousin Victor and enjoyed an incredible golf trip with him several years back. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this tragic time. He will be missed by his Canadian friend Bruce Coleman
Bruce Coleman
March 22, 2011
To the family of Jeff, I wish I could have shared with you the goodness and fond memories when I think of meeting Jeff as a young highschooler, he and his friends were the first New Trier friends and crushes my friends and I had developed being from Evanston and all. While Jeff always evoked a smile and ray of light, I benefitted from getting to know his family especially Barb in college and Wendy afterwards.I still smile to myself remembering some crazy tennis game and a group of us swimming in the lake or marching through the grass in Ravinia? I am thinking of you all so much now, and wish I could be there to take away some of the pain but also to remind you of how much he was loved. ....but then again you will always know that. Karen Newman New York, NY
karen newman
March 22, 2011
Dear Diane,
I was devastated to learn about Jeff's passing; his death unleashed a flood of tears and brought to mind my son Mike's death, now 15 years in the past. The loss of a child is life's most tragic, unimaginable, and incomprehensible event, at least from my perspective. It does get easier, but the tears are never more than a moment away.
Jeff was a wonderful friend to Mike, all through their high school years, but especially when Mike was ill. I remember vividly Jeff's loving concern when he visited Mike in the hospital during Mike's final days. And Jeff's calls to us on Mike's birthday (Feb. 23rd) for several years after Mike died were a source of comfort and pleasure to us. He was the only one of the New Trier crowd who reached out to us in that way. You raised a very thoughtful and caring son, and for that, you can feel very proud.
I hope that the intensity of your loss diminishes with time and that you can find joy in the rest of your life. Warmly, Gerry Piorkowski
Geraldine Piorkowski
March 22, 2011
My condolences to the Berger family. I know Jeff is missed by all who love him. Very soon God will remove all sickenss from the earth and we will be able to see Jeff again in full, vibrant health (Isa 33:24). What a joy that will be.
Scottie Albright
March 22, 2011
To Jeff's family - your Dad was a bright light! He showed support to others through his bright smile, kind and loving spirit, and great sense of humor! Now he is an angel by your side!
Lisa Faremouth Weber
March 22, 2011
Michael E. Grant a long time friend of the Berger family offers his most profound sympathy at the passing of Jeff Berger.
March 21, 2011
To the family of Jeff Berger, I am very sorry for your loss. I knew Jeff at New Trier - we served on Inklings together.. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Renee Tourville Werthmann
March 21, 2011
Jeff was a great leader, mentor, friend, and most of all father and husband. He was a genuine person who cherished life and lived it to the fullest. I consider myself lucky to have known him and will always do as he did.
My heart goes out to his family and friends. His memory will live on!
Kyle Miller
March 21, 2011
Berger Family:

I was deeply saddened to hear of Jeff's passing. I think Jeff and I go back to First grade or maybe Kindergarten. I saw him at a reunion and even in this picture, he looks the same. I know that your grief can not be written away by words nor shared amongst those of us who would gladly bear it with you, but I know I say this for all of us who knew him, anywhere in life...what a great guy.
Blair Tinkle
March 21, 2011
Having known Jeff since we were 12 I have nothing but great memories about the times we spent together as kids in Wilmette. Berger was one of the people you meet in life that you know will be a 'friend for life'.
His positive mental attitude will be missed by everyone who knew him.
"He's Gone" but will not be fogotten!
My prayers and thoughts are with the Berger Family.
Brett Bennett
March 21, 2011
Dear Diane, Barbara, Wendy and family,
Mickey, Mike and I were shocked to read Jeff's obituary in the Chicago Tribune. My prayers and thoughts have been with you all day.
I remember when Mickey and I went up to camp to visit Mike and Jeff joined us for the weekend in all of our activities. Mike and Jeff worked on Inklings together at New Trier. I always enjoyed visiting with him when he came to our house to meet with Mike about what they were doing. And, thank you for including Mickey and I in some of your family gatherings over the years. Your family was always very warm and welcoming to us. I can see you all together enjoying those occasions and Jeff with a big smile on his face when he saw us. It's difficult to grasp the tragic loss of Jeff. I feel so sad for all Jeff's loved ones.
Diane, even though it has been a few years since we have been in touch, you and I go back a long time. If I can be of any comfort to you, don't hesitate to contact me.
Mickey and Mike join me in sending you our heartfelt sympathy. Love, Myrna
Myrna Hammerman
March 20, 2011
Dear Wendy,
Please accept our deep sympathy for your tragic loss. We are lifting up in prayer you and your family. We pray that you will feel God's love and comfort even in these darkest of hours.
Ngozi Ezike and family
Ngozi Ezike
March 20, 2011
Wendy/Barb and Family- My sincere condolences on your loss. Jeff and I go way back to Freshman year at NTE and most recently to playing tennis at EBC in our Adult Lives. Like many I have no words to express how sorry I am about this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers ae with you during this time of grief.
Ralph Jacobson
March 20, 2011
so sorry for your loss. if you want to, give my mom, berde sutchar, a call. 847-864-6143. my father, vic,passed away last august, almost 92 years old
berde sutchar
March 20, 2011
I barely knew Jeff.I knew him more through my husband Mitch and i heard he was a wonderful man and husband and dad.Every years the Bergers family send us a Happy Holidays card.I know that Mitch and Jeff used to be close friend.
I extend my deepest condolences to you and your entire family on Jeff's sudden and tragic death.
Vanessa KALCHEIM
March 20, 2011
I met Jeff in 6th grade. The picture above reminds of his great smile and easy going attitude. I ran into him at our reunion years ago and recognized him right away. Great gut who will truly be missed.
joe kincaid
March 20, 2011
Wendy and family, my words can not express how sorry I am for your loss. I know what a tight family you all are and how unbelievably difficult this time must be for all of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of tremendous grief.
John Tuhey
March 20, 2011
A great man will be laid to rest today. May his legacy live on in the wonderful memories we all share. My heart goes out to his wife and children. I will always remember his bright smile. He always lit up a room when he walked in. This is such a horrible loss....
Jennifer Davy
March 20, 2011
Jeff was like no other...he fell in a special category which I can only label as "Berger"..Everything about him was Bergeresque: his facial expressions, body language, demeanor, smile and laugh. He was gregarious, yet introspective. He was spirtual, but grounded. He was always in the moment, focused on whoever he was with, or whatever he was doing. He was easy to talk to. He got along with everyone and extended his hand in friendship to everyone he met. He lived as if he were grateful for life. He showed this by never wasting his time, striving to learn new things, taking advantage of any chance to be with his friends and family.

Jeff could laugh at himself like no other. He never took himself too seriously. Nowhere was this more apparent than on the golf course. He would blow a shot, 5 putt, or whatever, blurt out a Bergeresque expletive and then laugh about it.

Jeff was always happy. His happiness was infectious. It just felt good to be with him. I will miss his bear hugs. I can't believe he's gone.


Jon Glaser
Jon Glaser
March 19, 2011
Dear Wendy and Barbara,

I extend my deepest condolences to you and your entire family on Jeff's sudden and tragic death. I will always remember him as a terrific guy with a warm and gracious personalilty. I recall him as being very genuine and caring. While I had not seen Jeff in a long time, I can still see his warm and welcoming smile in my mind's eye. I am thinking of you and your family, his wife and three boys as you all mourn this tragic and profound loss. I hope that, in time, you will find comfort in all of the sweet memories that you cherish of happy times you shared with Jeff. My most heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of you.
Cappy Abraham
March 19, 2011
I've known Jeff for over 25 years. A genuinely nice person who will be deeply missed. Tragic is an understatement. My thoughts are with his family and all of the people who got to know him during this most difficult time.
Lauren Rein
March 19, 2011
I was deeply saddened to have learned of Jeff's sudden passing. I knew Jeff back in high school and he was such a wonderful guy!

Please know that my heart goes out to Jeff's entire family during this very difficult time. Just remember all the special times that you shared with Jeff as these memories will last forever.
Elizabeth Kretchmer
March 19, 2011
My deepest condolences on the loss of a wonderful father and husband. Jeff was really one of the great ones and he will be sorely missed by family, friends, and his community. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this very difficult time.
Jessica Green Kaufman
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