With the passing of Dr. Fred Berger in October and after attending his memorial service, I think often about what he meant to me, our family, his friends, and the Macon County community. Collected below are some of these thoughts.
I loved Fred like a brother. As college roommates for three years, we shared more funny moments than can possibly be recounted. Though we were the original “odd couple,” we made it all the way together through Duke. Fred was the more subdued of the two of us, and was the voice of reason. We admired one another’s special talents — his included guitar, a mellow singing voice, and excellent study habits, and mine was the ability to ace a term paper thrown together in a frantic 48 hours. Fred never watched much TV while at Duke. I guess I put in enough “tube time” for both of us.
I always envied Fred’s having grown up with the same guys all the way through high school. He was an exceptional, lifelong friend to his buddies from Clayton, Mo. I got to know Rupert, Abe, Rock, and Kenny decades before meeting them. After all, they were the main characters in stories Fred told — often punctuated with impressions of their speech and mannerisms. And though Fred never sought to be the central figure who drew them together, I feel he probably was.