Julia Berg


Julia Ellen (Kelly) Berg, 100, passed away on December 11, 2020, at Havenwood Care Center in Bemidji, MN, after contracting COVID-19. A private ceremony will be held at Greenwood Cemetery with a celebration of her life at a later date.

Julia was born during a snowstorm on January 21, 1920, in Hampden, ND, to Tom and Maude (Pion) Kelly. Raised in Hampden, she graduated from Northfield High School in 1938. She enjoyed playing on the girls’ basketball team while in school.

Julia attended Valley City State Teachers College in Valley City, ND, and earned her two-year teaching certificate. She taught in one-room schoolhouses in Fordville and Weaver, ND, between 1940-1945. Boarding with a sponsor, she walked to school each day in time to start a fire in the woodstove for the school day.

Julia married her classmate from Hampden, Earl Stanley Berg, in Baltimore, MD, on June 19, 1945, when he returned from WWII after serving in Italy in the Army Air Corp. Earl’s employment brought moves to Washington, North Dakota, and many locations in Minnesota. Julia was busy with five children and her church and volunteer activities, including the American Red Cross Gray Ladies. Sadly, Earl died shortly before their 18th wedding anniversary and then Julia began her journey of raising her 5 children by herself.

With nearly all the children grown, Julia began working as a teacher in the Beltrami County Day Activity Center (DAC) while also pursuing a 4-year teaching degree. She graduated from Bemidji State University in 1977 with a B.S. degree (cum laude) in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education. She continued to work at the DAC as a teacher until her retirement in 1985.

Julia was a proud descendent of Irish and French immigrants. She always considered herself a North Dakota girl, despite having lived in Minnesota most of her life.

Julia enjoyed sewing (making memorable clothing for her children and two heirloom quilts), crocheting, reading, walking, and having coffee with the neighbor ladies (who called her Dottie.) She had a great love for children and babies, as a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher, neighbor, and friend. She will be sadly missed by all those who knew and loved her.

Julia is survived by her five children: Steven Berg, Lillian, AL; Pamela Madson, Bemidji, MN; Bradley Berg, Duluth, MN; Patrice (Roger) Conely, Bemidji, MN; and Susan (Gregory) Berg, Southlake, TX. She is survived by 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Tom and Maude Kelly, her husband, Earl, her brothers Ray, Gordy, Freddie, Bob, Gene, and Harold Kelly, her sister, Vivian Harpster, her son-in-law Ron Madson, and her daughter-in-law Trudie Berg.

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