Richard Berg was known for his blunt assessments about Port Alberni City Council and the decisions they made—especially when he disagreed with them. His acerbic letters to the editor were sure to bring vociferous debate around the city’s water coolers.
One thing about Berg, though, that people could not dispute: he cared deeply about the community where he grew up, then later returned to in order to teach
The Alberni Valley Community Foundation discovered this fall just how much the late Berg loved his community: the AVCF has received $135,000 from Berg’s estate. The money will be invested to help the foundation generate income in perpetuity for the benefit of local charities—about $5,000 per year.
The donation “was a surprise,” AVCF chairperson Hugh Grist said. “I didn’t know he was going to leave that.
“His views were not always unanimously approved by many in the community, including myself; however, his love for the Alberni Valley was never questioned.”
Berg, who was 76 when he died, lived most of his life in the Alberni Valley. His father, Jack Berg, born in Norway, became a leading log scaler in the Alberni Inlet, according to Richard’s friend and local historian, Frank Holm. Berg’s mother, Kathleen, was from the pioneer Wood family, who owned what became Alberni Pacific Sawmill.
Richard Berg lived in the neighbourhood of his first school, Eighth Avenue Elementary. He graduated from Alberni District High School in 1959.
Academically inclined, Richard earned a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of B.C. and went to the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. for his Masters of Arts (English).
“Mr. Berg was a caring community watchdog, attending hundreds of city council and school district meetings,” Holm said.
“Richard Berg will be remembered for his kindness, trying to make his communities even better places,” Holm said.