No mother ever wishes to leave her children, but confident in the fact she had taught us very well, our mother, Carol Berger, finished her final lesson and died peacefully in our company in the early afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 1. Carol is now whole again following a long battle with dementia/Alzheimer's and reunited with Bayrd, her husband of 58 years.
Carol is survived by her four incredibly fortunate children, Leah (Roger) Hicks, Jay (Maureen) Berger, Daniel (Susan) Berger, and Matthew (Kelly Dolland) Berger. Carol was an integral part of the lives of her 11 grandchildren leaving them with a rich legacy of how to live generously.
She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Robert and Elda (Wiedemeir) Purdon; and her only sibling, Jac Eduard Purdon.
A graduate of Mumford High School, Carol was educated as a registered nurse at the Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing. Carol continued a number of invaluable friendships with her classmates over the course of her lifetime. No doubt the greatest friendship she built from her HFH days was the lifelong adventure she shared with her beloved ``Bergs'' that began with a blind date.
Following a whirlwind courtship they eloped in September of 1958 and moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Two years and the first of four children later, Carol and Bayrd moved back to greater Detroit. They remained rooted in Detroit for the remainder of their lives.
Carol's family life was built on the same foundation as she built her professional life. Whether the cheering hockey mom, the gentle Lamaze instructor, the tireless and under appreciated chef, or the infinitely patient geriatric nurse, Carol most valued kindness. She possessed the rare gift of being able to connect with everyone around her and joyously make them feel a part of something greater. Among her many professional distinctions, Carol was most proud to be a founding member of the Hospice of Southeastern Michigan. Full of peace and curiosity, Carol earned a later-in-life undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University and was part of the Chaplaincy program at Beaumont Hospital.
When Carol and Bayrd finally decided to retire they found ample energy to overindulge their family and friends at the house they built together on Torch Lake.
We are forever grateful for the skilled and loving care and the kind hearts of Bay Ridge, Traverse City; the ECT Clinic and Older Adult Care Unit at Pine Rest, Grand Rapids; Byron Center Manor, Byron Center, and Kindred Hospice, Grand Rapids, provided to Carol and our family.
A lifelong advocate of ritual, Carol's life will be celebrated with a memorial service in the spring.
Published on March 4, 2018