Donald L. "Doggie" Berg, 78
Renowned jazz drummer, Spanish Professor Emeritus at UW-RF Don Lee "Doggie" Berg, a longtime resident of River Falls, was born April 21, 1930, in Wausau.
He died suddenly and unexpectedly on Wednesday, June 25, 2008. He was 78.
He leaves behind him a stellar career as a college Spanish professor who specialized in linguistics and Latin American studies. He was the catalyst for the Semester Abroad Program to Mexico for UW-River Falls students in the early '80s.
His family connection with the world of traditional New Orleans Jazz music titled him, "the best snare drummer of his generation." He was a founding member of the Hall Brothers Jazz Band and part owner of the Emporium of Jazz located in Mendota, Minn.
He and his dedicated wife of 20 years, Mimi Trudeau, traveled the world to various jazz festivals having just completed a European tour in June of 2007.
Doggie was nothing short of a class act: A raspy, bluesy singer, a wordsmith and a walking dictionary. His life was filled with optimism, joy and hilarious jokes.
He is survived by his wife and sons: Clint (Freya Larson) of Nashville and Jason (Wa Stella) of Minnetonka, Minn.; two step-sons: Brent Griffin of Burnsville, Minn., and Phillip (Jeanne) Griffin of Uptown, Minneapolis; one brother, Stuart Berg of Wausau; and three special grandchildren: Derrick, Juliana and Charles Berg, all of St. Paul; plus many, many affectionate nieces, nephews and in-laws.
Don enlisted in the Marines following high school graduation during the Korean War. He then attended UW-Madison and joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
He continued his graduate work at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and was hired as a teaching graduate assistant while he completed his Ph.D.
Don retired from teaching in 1995 and spent 18 glorious years of retirement visiting New Orleans every spring as a driving force with his drumming and singing, playing primarily with the Ponchatrain Owls International Jazz Band and the Happy Pals from Toronto, Canada.
Locally, he has been a long-standing drummer for the Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band and the Moldy Figs and various others. He also played with the Norrie Cox New Orleans Stompers based out of Milwaukee.
During his college years in Madison he played and sang with the Riverboat Rascals, the hottest band in town in the 1950's.
Loved and respected by all, the world has lost a true gentleman with a wit and style uniquely his own.
A Celebration of Life was held on Monday, June 30, at the River Falls Golf Club, 101 County Road M, with social hour beginning at 4 p.m. and remembrances beginning at 5 p.m.
Interment at a later date.
Memorials are preferred to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic/2820 Napoleon Ave./# 890/New Orleans, LA/70115.
Cashman- Hill Funeral Home & Cremation Services assisted the family with arrangements.
Please visit www.cashmanhillfuneralservice.com for more information or to extend an online condolence to the family.