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1916 Margaret 2020

Margaret Berger

November 3, 1916 — January 12, 2020

Margaret Elizabeth Haseltine Berger

Nov. 3, 1916-Jan. 12, 2020

Bainbridge Island

Poet, nature-lover, mother, healer—Margi Berger—died quietly and peacefully in her bed at age 103 on Jan. 12 on Bainbridge Island. Margi was born and raised in Ripon, Wisconsin. Her parents were Col. William E. Haseltine and Florence Reed Haseltine. She loved the outdoor life during her upbringing—hiking, camping, swimming, sailing, and winter sports. She attended Ripon College and graduated with her bachelor’s from Smith College in 1938. Following graduation, she and her best girlfriend biked around Europe together on their own. She went to Yale School of Nursing where she got her Master’s Degree. She moved to Seattle during WWII, home of her husband, Dr. Knute E. Berger, whom she met at Yale and married in 1942. He served as a surgeon in the Army Air Force and Margi worked as a civilian nurse on or near base hospitals where he was stationed. After the war, she and Knute lived in South Carolina, Seattle, and Peru where Knute was chief of surgery in a hospital in the Andes. She raised her family in Seattle. Margi worked in medical administration for the Reconstructive Cardiovascular Research Laboratory (later called the Bob Hope Heart Institute) pioneering new techniques in treating people with cardiovascular disease with renowned surgeon Dr. Lester Sauvage. She was also a published poet and her worked appeared in such publications as Poetry, the Seattle Review, and Beliot Poetry Journal, and others. Her chapbook, “Hummingbirds and Strangers” was published in 1989. She retired to Bainbridge Island in the early 1970s where she and her husband worked on art projects. She loved to cook, travel and one of her feats, having learned French as a child in a Swiss school, was to be able to recite Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky” in French, which she could do as late as age 102. Her home on Sunrise Drive became a gathering spot for Bainbridge Island poets. She spent her final years quietly at The Wyatt House. She is survived by her three children, Barbara Helen of Bainbridge, Kari, and Knute “Skip” Berger of Seattle, two grandchildren, Gus and Sophia, their spouses and partners and four great grandchildren. Those wishing to remember her with a donation are urged to donate to Nature Conservancy, Friends of the San Juans, or Bainbridge Island’s Helpline House.

Memorial plans are pending.

Arrangements are entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Margaret Berger, please visit our flower store.


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