Rev. dr. Marvin Martin Bergman, 88, died in Christ on August 24, 2022.
He was an incredible and irreplaceable husband, father, grandfather, brother, colleague and friend to all who knew him. Many words describe this Servant: Faithful, Kind, Listener, Learned and Driven. Marvin never wasted a moment in his life and loved every moment.
Born in 1934, in Philip, South Dakota, in the middle of the Dust Bowl, to Rev. Elmer Bergmann, and Laura (Meyer) Bergmann, where his father served two congregations in Philip and Midland, South Dakota. Two weeks later, he was baptized into the LCMS faith. His father would serve both congregations faithfully, driving his Model T back and forth, and would usually be “paid” in goats and chickens for his work. Marv would spend the rest of his life learning to loathe goat cheese and goat milk.
The family moved to Ernestville, Missouri, (near Concordia), where Elmer was installed in 1937 as pastor, organist, and principal of St. Matthew Lutheran Church and School. When Marv was in the lower grades in the one-room schoolhouse, he moved his seat closer to the room for the older kids to listen in on their lessons. This would likely be the catalyst for an insatiable need for lifelong learning. Anyone who knew Papa knew that he was constantly exploring different areas: the brain; faith formation; family life; confirmation; theology and moral development; sociology; the new testament; apologies, and of course orchards, beekeeping (before it was cool) and gardening.
He spent his high school years at Concordia Academy, Concordia, Missouri. In addition to his studies, he liked to play baseball and basketball, especially since he had a team of siblings ready to play in the rectory: Norman, twins Ron and Don, Gerry, Carol and Margaret. Some of you reading this may be smiling at adventures you’ve experienced firsthand or heard about the Bergman brothers and their tendency to live life to the fullest. Papa was the nurturing eldest brother who tried to keep the siblings in order. No matter how hard he tries, there are stories out there, all very nice.
Marvin was confirmed in the faith in 1947. He would then graduate from Concordia Academy in 1951 and receive his bachelor’s degree in 1956 from Concordia, Austin, Texas. a pastor and share the knowledge of Christ with the world. He received his theological training at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1958, and did his rectory at Trinity Lutheran, Orlando, Florida.
After his rectory, Marvin went to Denver to see his parents, who then moved to Colorado. While in Denver for the summer, and through his mother’s clever matchmaking, Marvin met his future wife, Shirley, a teacher and organist. Marvin and Shirley were married on Easter afternoon 1960 in Archbold, Ohio. They were inseparable for 62 blessed years.
Marvin got a call in 1960 to start a church in General Motor’s backyard, in Warren, Michigan. He wore three pairs of shoes in just a few months, touring the neighborhoods and introducing the ‘Holy Cross’ mission church. Shortly thereafter, the building was erected and Marvin and Shirley began their own family with the blessing of a daughter, Joy Angela, in 1963, and son, Jonathon David, in 1966. The family would remain in Michigan until Marvin prayerfully considered continuing his education and training. obtaining his doctorate. The family moved to New York City’s Upper West Side in 1967, and he would graduate in 1970 with his Ed.D. from Union Seminary, Columbia University.
Later that summer, he received a divine call to Concordia Seward, Nebraska. He had an idyllic experience spending the formative professional and family years in Seward, making countless lifelong friendships and worshiping in St. John. Marvin was a Vacancy Pastor for the Nebraska District for many years and traveled to many churches across the state to spread the Word. He would eventually serve Peace, Waco for over 10 years while teaching a full course load at Concordia. He enjoyed working with the students of Concordia.
Always a student herself, Marvin received a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska in 1982. Wife Shirley also earned her Ph.D. around that time, and the two became a dynamic couple in the LCMS, delivering numerous workshops across the country over the next 25 years. They were a busy couple and their life together was immeasurably blessed.
Marvin will always be remembered as a loving and generous man. He would say to us: Thanks and gratitude to our Father in Heaven for the many blessings He gives each of us each day. To God be the Glory, forever and ever.
He is survived by wife, Shirley Bergman; daughter, Joy Angela (David); son, Jon (Caroline); and four grandsons: Christian Ray and Ty, Henry and Harrison Bergman.
The funeral service was August 30 at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward with interment at Greenmount Cemetery in Durango, Colorado. Condolences can be left online for the family at www.volzkefuneralhome.com.