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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Kurt Burge

Issue Date: October 18, 2018

Kurt Burge, 97, of Menominee, Mi., passed away Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Northland Luther Home in Marinette.

Born Nov. 7, 1920 at home in Wernigerode/Harz, Germany, to the late Emma (Eikel) Berge from Magdeburg, Germany and Karl Berge from Wernigerode/Harz, Germany, the family immigrated to Painesdale, Mi. via Hamburg, Southampton, Halifax and Sault St. Marie, Mi. in 1925 with his mother and brothers, Walter and Karl Jr. and his father immigrated prior in 1923.

He graduated from Painesdale High School, renamed Jeffers High School in 1938 in "Downtown' Painesdale and he enjoyed attending many High School Reunions where he received a special plaque in 2013 celebrating his 75th year (Diamond Jubilee) reunion from Painesdale High School.

In 1938, he joined the CCC - Civilian Conservation Corps located at Camp Jumbo, Kenton, Mi., then to Camp Wells, at Wells State Park near Cedar River, Mi. and became the hospital orderly. While there he met his future wife, Arlene Sieman, of Menominee.

On Columbus Day, Oct. 12, 1940, he left Painesdale on his bicycle and pedaled to Detroit, Mi., where he worked at the Parkstone Hotel as a dishwasher until 1942 when he joined the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He attended the DeForest Radio School in Chicago, Ill. While there, he and Arlene married on Feb. 2, 1943 at The Salvation Army, No. 13 Corps. During his time in the Air Corps, he was in New Orleans, Kelly Field in San Antonio, six months at Boca Raton, Fla., Air Field in Fresno, Ca. and Santa Rosa, Ca.

He was discharged from Ft. McClellen, Ca. and worked shift work at Marathon Paper Mill in Menominee, Mi. In March of 1948 he began working at the Menominee Post Office as a substitute clerk and then was hired full time in May 1951. He was appointed regular clerk in August 1956 and later was a rural route carrier, working at the Post Office until retiring on Nov. 2, 1984.

A member of many community organizations including P.T.A. President at Lincoln Elementary School, first President of the Menominee High School Band Boosters in 1967, Cub Master for the Boy Scouts of America, served on the loan committee at MACU " Menominee Area Credit Union, was Sunday School Teacher at The Salvation Army in Marinette, belonged to Marinette Salvation Army Men's Club, M & M Amateur Radio Club, Escanaba Commandery No. 47, Chapter 44 Eastern Star, Scottish Rite Free Masonry, Menominee Mason Lodge #269, Ahmed Shriners, Menominee County Historical Society, Supporter of The Painesdale Mine Shaft Inc., NARFE " National Active and Retired Federal Employees, Bay Area Welcome Social Club and the America Legion, Post 146, Menominee for over 60 years.

A lifelong learner, he enjoyed photography including 8 mm home silent movies, slides, digital and videos and traveled in the USA, Canada, Israel and European countries.

In 1974, he returned to Wernigerode/Harz Germany for the first time since a child where he reunited with many German cousins and visited many times after that. He had a good personality, was encouraging, inspiring, was always ready to tell a story, Reader's Digest joke, share an article from the newspaper, comment on an historical event, read his Bible & devotions daily and brightened the lives of many.

A faithful senior soldier of The Salvation Army Church, he lived his faith daily and had a close relationship with Jesus Christ. He enjoyed time with family and friends and traveled far to stay connected.

He is survived by seven children, Tom Berge, Tarpon Springs, Fla., Cherylee Hamilton, Judy (Len) Reid and John (Tracy) Berge, all of Menominee, Will (Maria) Berge, Appleton, Bonnie (Doug) Freitag, Atlanta Ga. and Ruth (Bob) Fay, Oak Creek; 16 grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; a great-great-granddaughter; a sister-in-law, Patricia Berge, Worcester, Ma.; a brother-in-law, Stan Hruska, Bloomfield Hills, Mi., many cousins; nieces; nephews and treasured friends.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Arlene on March 6, 2011; brothers, Karl Jr., killed in 1944 France during World War II, Walter, Whitefish Bay and Werner, Worcester, Ma.; a brother-in-law, Glen Sieman, Dade City, Fla.; sisters-in-law, Marie Berge, Whitefish Bay, Lorrayne Hruska, Redford, Mi. and Libby Sieman, Dade City, Fla.; a daughter-in-law, Peggy Berge, Richmond, Va. and a grandson, Aaron Berge, Kalamazoo, Mi.

Visitation will be held at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 2901 13th St., Menominee on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visitation will continue on Friday, Oct. 19 from 9:30 a.m. until time of Military Honors conducted by the Military 20 Year Club at 10 a.m. A Memorial with Celebration of Life will follow at 11 a.m., officiated by Major Robert Fay of The Salvation Army, with a lunch afterwards. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery in Menominee. Anderson Kell Funeral Home of Menominee is assisting the family with arrangements. A Memorial Fund has been established in his name for The Marinette Salvation Army Youth and an Educational Scholarship at Jeffers (Painesdale) High School.


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