The 1923 Post Office basketball team | Past & Present

By RANDY HUNT | Past & Present

Two members of the 1923 Post Office basketball team were brothers Ervin and Walter Berg. The accompanying photo was provided by Lloyd Berg, Walter’s son. He thinks it would be fun to find out more about it. Send information to marvelrandy306@gmail.com.

Here’s some information about the Bergs.

In 1909, Soren H. Berg, his second wife Mary “Kinder” Berg and their son Walter settled on a 15-acre farm on Clear Creek Road (the current site of Red Lobster Restaurant, Carpet Exchange, and up the hill beyond the Oak Table Restaurant).

In 1941, Mary traded this property to Ervin and Polly Berg for their place in Silverdale. Mary sold the Silverdale place in 1960 for $10,500; in 1983, the property was sold to the developer of Kitsap Mall for $750,000.

Ervin Selmer Berg (b. April 9, 1896, Courtenay, North Dakota, d. Nov. 7, 1958, Bremerton)

Ervin was the son of Soren Berg and his first wife, the former Ingerborg Walen, but after his mother died was adopted by an uncle and aunt, Anton and Minnie Berg. Both families both relocated to Silverdale from North Dakota.

On Nov. 4, 1917, Ervin enlisted in the Army at Port Orchard during the Great War and served overseas from Dec. 11, 1917 to April 5, 1919. He saw action at Chateau-Thierry, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and elsewhere. He was discharged May 1, 1919, at Camp Lewis.

Ervin had several very close calls. This was shared by one of his children:

“A bullet hit his steel helmet and glanced off. He brought this home with him and it distinctly shows the bullet mark. Another time, a bullet went through his pack on his back. He also was blown up in the air, very likely from a mine exploding, or it could have been a delayed-action shell. He told of many heart-breaking stories, but not until long after he got home. I know it was a part of his life he wanted to forget. He told about taking bread from the dead, scraping off the green mold from the poison gas, then having to eat it because of severe hunger.

“I believe Dad suffered ‘shell shock,’ although you never hear the term nowadays. Mom tells of walking down the street in Bremerton when a truck backfired. Before she realized what had happened, Dad was in the alley crouched behind some boxes, shaking like a leaf.”

Ervin worked for Kitsap County for a year or so, and then got a job driving truck for Black Ball Auto Freight Co. Eventually, he was dispatcher and assistant office manager. He worked for Black Ball Auto Freight until his death on Nov. 7, 1958.

“Strange how things work out. I had not been over to see the folks for quite a while. I told my husband I wanted to go, so we bundled up the boys and drive over on Saturday. Dad loved Hood Canal and would take the boys — Barbara’s son, Ron, age 6; and my two, Jim, age 7, and Greg, age 5 — out to run and play on the beach.

“This particular Sunday morning, they had had breakfast, the boys were all ready and waiting when Dad decided he had to shave. He came out of the bathroom and told Mom something was wrong. The side of his face was slack and he couldn’t move his arm. We got him into the car and Mom took him to the hospital. By the time she got there, he was completely paralyzed and was in a coma by that evening. He died the following Friday. The medical diagnosis was cerebral hemorrhage. ‘Lady Luck’ was really on our side. He could have been driving 50 miles an hour with those little kids in the car.

“He was a kind and loving father, and a wonderful grandfather. He valued and treasured his home. He always put in a big garden and at our first home built a root cellar and smoke house. He loved fishing on Hood Canal, and when he had his own boat and motor, he was a truly happy man. Though times were tough when we were growing up, we kids never realized how difficult it must have been for my folks.”

Walter H. Berg (b. Dec. 17, 1900, Hannaford, North Dakota, d. July 15, 1981, Silverdale)

His obituary, July 17, 1981, Bremerton Sun:

Walter H. Berg, 80, of 10661 Clear Creek Road NW, Silverdale, a Kitsap resident since he was 9 years old, died Wednesday at Forest Ridge Convalescent Center.

Mr. Berg, a newspaper deliveryman in Kitsap of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer until retiring in the mid-1960s, was a member of the Silverdale United Methodist Church. He was interested in sports and was a member of a championship Post Office basketball team in 1923.

He was married to the former Katrina Pederson in Seattle on Aug. 18, 1928. He was born in Hannaford, N.D. on Dec. 17, 1900, and moved to Kitsap from North Dakota in 1909.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Shirley Carlson of Southworth; two sons, Lloyd S. and Kenneth W., both of Silverdale; and seven grandchildren.

— Randy Hunt is a member of the Central Kitsap History Club. He writes Past & Present for the Central Kitsap Reporter. Contact him at marvelrandy306@gmail.com.

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