At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
SPCA of Southwest Michigan
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a journey that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Frederick “Fred” Berner lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. He liked the simple life and was content in all things, fully embracing each day he was given. Deeply devoted to his family, Fred treasured his roles as a husband, father, and grandfather, his family his greatest source of pride and joy. A longtime part of the community he loved, he was known for his strong work ethic and willingness to give everything his all. Life will never be the same without Fred here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The year 1941 is often remembered as the year of the vicious attack on our naval base in Pearl Harbor on December 7th. President Roosevelt was left with no choice but to enter WWII the very next day. This same year was met with great anticipation for Hilary and Katherine (TerBush) Berner as they were waiting for the birth of their new baby as winter still hung in the air in Mishawaka, Indiana, in February that same year. Their wait was finally over on March 1st when the baby boy they named Frederick made his arrival. He was the fifth of six children as he was raised in the family home in Otsego alongside his siblings, Rosemary, Bill, Jerry, Phil, and Cathy. Fred’s father was a farmer while his mother was a nurse. As a student, he attended local schools and graduated from Otsego High School.
After graduating from high school, Fred went into the Army and then into the reserves. The same willingness to work hard that he exhibited in the military remained with him into the workforce. Fred began working at General Motors and received his journeymanship in machine repair. The bulk of his career was spent at GM on Sprinkle Road, and once they closed he worked for the new owner of the building, removing the machines from the building.
Not to be forgotten during Fred’s years as a young man was his introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Brenda Lyles, and they met in 1968 while Fred was working at the armory in the National Guard when she and some girlfriends were cruising the area. Five months to the day later, Fred and Brenda were married on September 6, 1968. To their relationship, Brenda brought her daughter, Roshanne, and Fred loved her as his own. A bit later, Fred and Brenda were blessed with the birth of their second daughter, Lenore. Later in life he was filled with unspeakable joy to welcome three grandchildren into the family. Fred treasured his granddaughters, and it was easy to see that the sun rose and set with Ashley, Megan, and Heather.
Throughout his life there were many things that enriched Fred’s journey. He had a special place in his heart for dogs, and he was especially partial to his rescue dog, Molly. They rescued several animals over the years. and Fred liked to make sure that he kept the SPCA well-funded with donations. He loved both old cars and new cars, and he actually liked being called “Old Fart.” They didn’t take many vacations, but Fred liked to take road trips on long weekends. When the girls were younger he loved taking them to Cedar Point. During his later years, Fred gravitated to car shows and going up North. When he was able, he liked going on hikes and taking nature walks. Fred didn’t cook much, but he enjoyed listening to oldies and was an avid reader who especially enjoyed history.
All who knew Frederick “Fred” Berner would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was a hardworking man who was very mechanically minded with a zest for life that was truly contagious. A family man through and through, Fred was happiest when surrounded by the love of his family. A blessing in the lives of all who knew him, he will be forever missed.
Frederick “Fred” Berner, of Kalamazoo passed, away on Monday, March 12, 2018. Fred’s family includes his wife, Brenda; two daughters: Roshanne (Paul) Harvey, of Galesburg; Lenore (Rick) Storts, of Paw Paw; three granddaughters: Ashley (Chris) Whited, of Paw Paw; Megan Kime, of Kalamazoo; Heather Harvey, of Galesburg. He is also survived by his brother Phil Berner, of Otsego. Fred was preceded in death by his siblings: Rosemary Anson, Bill Berner, Jerry Berner, and Cathy Folkert. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at the McCowen & Secord Life Story Family Funeral Home, 5975 Lovers Lane, Portage (269-344-5600). The funeral service will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with the family greeting friends an hour before the service. Please visit Fred’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com where you can sign the guestbook, and share a memory. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the SPCA of Southwest Michigan.