obit: Wilbert Frank "Whip" Berger - wife Stavinoha
Posted: August 14, 2012
Wilbert Frank “Whip” Berger, 80, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 2 in Schulenburg after having cancer for the past 21�M2 years.
The funeral was held on Saturday, Aug. 4 at 10 a.m. at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Schulenburg, followed by burial in the St. John's Catholic Cemetery. Officiating was Rev. Bert Bronaugh, St. Paul's pastor. Pallbearers were Mark Anders and Alphonse Kristinik Jr., sons-in-law; Corey Anders and Jim Wilson, grandsons; Ronnie McBride, nephew; Harvey Berckenhoff, family friend; and Pete Stavinoha, former baseball player and close friend. Former Schulenburg Merchants baseball players who served as honorary pallbearers were Eugene Berger, David Florus, Dennis Florus, Leo Hollas, Richard “Rico” Hollas, Robert Hollas, Jerry Kubenka, Ernie Mensik, Thomas Mensik, Mike “Bubba O” Olle, Robert Schmidt, Frank Segura, Ted Vanek and Ronnie White.
An American Legion service and prayer service were held on Friday, Aug. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Schwenke-Baumgarten Funeral Home.
Born in Schulenburg on April 29, 1932, he was the son of Henry A. and Hilda (Lobpries) Berger. He attended St. Rose Catholic School. From March 1953 to March 1955, he was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso as a guided missile launch specialist. On Oct. 9, 1955, he married June Stavinoha at St. Rose Church, and they had two daughters, Laurie and Kim. Mr. Berger resided in Houston from 1956-71 and Schulenburg from 1971 until his death. He worked in the oil and gas industry in Houston for 30 years (1955-85). From 1988-91, he served as manager of the Sports Complex in Schulenburg. He was a member of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. He was also a former member of the Schulenburg Trail Riders, former member of South Central Texas Amateur Baseball League, former member of the Shorthorn Booster Club and member of American Legion Post 143.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years; a daughter, Kim Anders and husband Mark of Schulenburg; a son-in-law, Alphonse Kristinik Jr. of Schulenburg and fiancee Tracy Kuehn; a brother, Vernon Berger and wife Dorothy of Houston; a sister-in-law, Georgie McBride and husband Leroy of Schulenburg; grandchildren, Jamie (Anders) Wilson and husband Jim, and Corey Anders; numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives; and his beloved dog, “Quincy.”
Preceding him in death were a daughter, Laurie Kristinik; his parents; and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Erwin and Ellie Stavinoha.
Schwenke-Baumgarten Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Berger's family also provides the following:
“Whip grew up loving to play sports, especially baseball, and enjoyed having time to read. He started out his baseball career as a player with the St. John’s Eagles. It wasn’t long until his nickname “Whip” came to be; his whip-like action in throwing a baseball. In his early years while living and working in Houston, he began coaching softball and semi-pro baseball. His softball team was called Tri-Tex while the baseball team was called the Texans. As the years went by he brought his love of baseball to Schulenburg and thus started a team for Sunday afternoons. This team, better known as the Merchants, were Whip’s boys!! Oh how he loved each and every player that he coached. These Merchants and also his teams in Houston won numerous championships. Whip was inducted into the South Central Texas Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in March of 1980.
“After his baseball career came to an end Whip found many other activities to keep him busy. His love of the outdoors brought about trail rides, camping, fishing, and farming. With his family in tow these were the times he cherished the most. Lake Somerville, “Rocky Creek Park,” holds many special memories as do the numerous trips to the hill country. His love of farming was echoed by his helper and daughter, Laurie. They both worked the farm together until Laurie’s battle with cancer took her from us. Now Whip and Laurie are partners once again.
“Whip’s biggest joy in the world was his two grandchildren. He watched them grow and excel through school, college, and into adulthood. Papa was the name given to him by Jamie but Corey preferred to call him Grandpa. With Jamie, he loved that she was so interested in history, a subject he said was one of his favorites, and loved to read as he did too. When they would start up a conversation, which usually were pretty lengthy, most of us would tune them out because it normally would be about history or politics. What bored some of us only brought them closer in their same interests. With Corey, they could always talk sports! Whip enjoyed watching Corey play and excel in sports and hardly ever missed a sporting event. Both him and June traveled many miles to watch their grandson play sports from little league baseball to high school basketball and football.
When college came around Whip could hardly contain himself when he learned that both of his grandchildren would be attending Texas A&M University. Oh, we may have forgotten to mention that Whip was a huge fan!! He became even more excited when he found out that Jamie’s boyfriend, at the time Jim, and now her husband, was also attending A&M and upon his college graduation he would be leaving to serve his country. Whip had a great love for his country and was very proud to have been in the U.S. Army. He always enjoyed his talks with Jim, of course it was always about the Army, but was even more excited to have Jim become his grandson too. One of Whip’s wishes, upon his death, was to have Jim present June with the American flag at his funeral. With the help from the American Legion Post 143, Captain James C. Wilson, “Jim,” was able to fulfill his wish.”