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Hans Berg

Hans Berg spent Tuesday doing what he loved: flying high in the sky at the controls of a glider. But after he touched down, the LaSalle resident left the earth in a different manner, dying suddenly at the age of 77.

"He died on the gliding field," said Susan Weston, Berg's eldest daughter. "They were ‘walking the wing back,' as they call it, and his companion said he just dropped in mid-sentence. He passed away under the blue sky and fluffy clouds he loved so much."

Berg was well-known among local sailplane enthusiasts. He was a long-time member of the Sandhill Soaring Club and helped found the Windsor Gliding Club in 1961.

Like other club members, Berg delighted in building, repairing and piloting wind-powered aircraft. According to a Windsor Gliding Club newsletter, Berg built a single-seat glider with a 60-foot wingspan in 1980, and took it on 500-kilometre flights in Ontario and Pennsylvania.

"He has won awards for long-distance flights," Weston said.

Weston said her father's love affair with gliding began in his native Germany in 1946, when he was 14 years old. "It was the freedom," she said. "It was looking out over that blue sky and soaring with the hawks."

Berg married his wife Elisabeth in 1953. The couple immigrated to Canada in 1954, and arrived in Windsor with only $20 to their name.

Berg worked in home renovation for years, eventually starting a home construction firm under his own name in 1965. For more than three decades, his workmanship appeared in houses throughout Windsor and Essex County.

Weston said that after her father retired in 1998, he continued to make use of his construction knowledge: He was a ready source of advice and help to all family members on any kind of home repair.

In recent years, he built sets for local dramatic arts group Theatre Intrigue. "He was called the Master Builder," Weston said.

"He worked hard, but he played hard. He loved gliding and he enjoyed learning new things. He really got into the computer.... He liked e-mail and conversing with his glider friends across Canada and the States."

But Weston said her father's greatest passion was for his family.

Berg is survived by his wife of more than 55 years, Elisabeth, three siblings, five children, nine grandchildren and other relatives.

Arrangements have been made with Families First Funeral Home and Tribute Centre, 3260 Dougall Ave. Visitation takes place Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by cremation. Call 519-969-5841 or visit www.familiesfirst.ca.


Posted: 5/26/2009

Final Glide 

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