Catherine Irene Berger, age 79, succumbed to cancer on December 8, 2023. The oldest of seven children, she was born in Jacksonville, Florida on June 20, 1944 to parents Edwin and Alberta Berger. Known as “Cathy” to her family and Catherine to everyone else, she was raised on a farm north of Auburn, Nebraska graduating Auburn High School. Catherine earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska and a Master of Divinity from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.

A free spirit, Catherine loved learning and lived her life in service to others through vocation and as a volunteer. In the 1960’s, she taught second grade in Grand Junction, Colorado where she developed a program to mainstream special needs students into the classroom. In the 1970’s Catherine was the managing editor of the Telluride Times in Telluride, Colorado where she used her position to support the evolution of Telluride from remote mining town to a destination for the cultural arts and tourism.

In the 1980’s, Catherine became an ordained minister of the American Lutheran Church at a time when it was rare for women to become ministers. As pastor, she served several small churches in rural North Dakota. In later years, Catherine worked different customer service jobs for a variety of retail businesses across southeast Nebraska. She spoke publicly, preached, designed/ presented workshops and retreats on topics including evangelism to the underserved, the needs of elderly, children/youth ministry and a variety of social justice issues.

Catherine was a caregiver and personal aid for a deaf and blind person. She learned sign language so she could translate worship services for the deaf. Catherine served many years as a volunteer pastor for a care center and was a Stephen’s minister serving people in crisis. A talented musician, Catherine played the piano and organ and served as a music director and organist for different churches throughout her life.

Catherine is preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Alberta Berger, sister Adrienne Berger of Fremont, NE and sister, Chris Allgood of Peru, NE. Catherine is survived by her sister Linda Blumenthal of Omaha, sister Janet (Tom) Osborne of Auburn, Brother Greg (Kim) Berger of Ralston and brother Paul (Renee) Berger of Elkhorn, 12 nieces/nephews, 12 great nieces/nephews and dear friend, Susan Cook of Valentine.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Auburn, NE followed by the internment of ashes at Saint. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. Concerned about the growing population of feral animals, Catherine asked that in lieu of flowers that any memorial gifts be made to spay and neuter program of Valentine at Borders without Boundaries.

Nemaha County Herald

PO Box 250
Auburn, NE 68305
PH: (402) 274-3185
FAX: (402) 274-3273