In loving memory of

Philip Jeffrey Berger
June 28, 1943 - February 11, 2020

Philip Jeffrey Berger (June 28, 1943 - February 11, 2020)

Philip Jeffrey Berger of Ames, Iowa died on February 11, he was 76 years old. He was born June 28, 1943 in Newark, NJ, to Philip Graham and Jean Weller Berger. He grew up in Pittstown, NJ, and was active in 4-H, Future Farmers of America, Boy Scouts, and was elected president of his high school class. He graduated from North Hunterdon High School. He received a B.S. from Delaware Valley College in 1965 and received his doctorate in philosophy from The Ohio State University in 1970. For 38 years, he taught graduate students and conducted research in Dairy Cattle Breeding at Iowa State University. He was a fellow of the American Dairy Science Association. He was awarded the J.L. Lush Award for Animal Breeding and Genetics by the American Dairy Science Association in 2008.

In 1965, he was united in marriage to his wife of 54 years Frances A. Williams. From this marriage two children were born: Sarah and Philip. Jeff was an active member of Collegiate United Methodist Church and was a supportive father and 4-H and Cub Scout leader. He enjoyed vegetable and flower gardening. He was a skilled woodworker. He enjoyed reading historical non-fiction and mystery novels.

His parents preceded him in death. Jeff is survived by his loving wife, Frances; daughter, Sarah (David) Selkovits; son, Philip Berger; and four sisters Jennifer Stanley, Kim Berger, Susan Berger, and Sally (Emily Mode) Berger; and many beloved former graduate students.

Visitation will be at 9 a.m. prior to a funeral at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 16 at Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames. Committal will follow at Nichols Chapel. A light lunch will be served at the church afterwards.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The ALS Association, Iowa Chapter, 3636 Westown Pkwy, Ste. 204, W. Des Moines, IA 50266 or Collegiate United Methodist Church, 2622 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50014.

Online condolences may be directed to


Emmett and Mary Stevermer wrote on Mar 17, 2020:

"We are sorry we couldn't be with you to celebrate Jeff's life. With the current virus situation and our ages we decided it best to avoid other people. We remember Jeff especially through the boy's 4-H experiences. He was always so supportive in all their activities. We sympathize with you as you lived through an ALS diagnosis. Emmett's brother had it a number of years ago and it is devastating. We will keep all of you in our prayers. Emmett and Mary Stevermer"

Sally Berger wrote on Mar 16, 2020:

"Feeling a lot of love for my brother who was always so meticulous in his research, and caring for his family and colleagues. He was concerned up to the very last about being informed and sharp about what was happening in genetics, history, and the current moment. Jeff LOVED going to a coffee shop, when he was still mobile, in pursuit of the best coffee cuppa, with friends, fellow researches and family, to hang out and talk. He was an international scholar, but also an American historian who appreciated the culture and lore of Iowa with true pride. He and his family biked along the old railways amidst the corn fields, canoed the lazy rivers alongside Holstein cows, and cross-country-skied the cold, snow capped fields. With Fran, together they kept and keep a verdant prairie garden of vegetables and flowers pollinated by honey bees. When Jeff left for college at Delaware Valley in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (around 1960) he left behind a bedroom filled with what seemed to his remaining teen and pre-teen sisters, an archeological site to which we finally had access. Blue/green Irish tartan plaid curtains, bookshelves filled with carefully annotated books (tabs for just about every page in a Spanish learning language book), but also, carefully recorded notes about the costs of his animal husbandry at the neighboring farm of Oren Cleaves, in the small barn in our backyard, and in his work in 4-H. To me, Jeff always seemed very grown up. This is only one small portrait. Jeff's portrait is so much fuller, as his son, daughter, wife and sisters can attest!! "

Pat and Louis Banitt wrote on Mar 16, 2020:

"The Bergers were the best neighbors one could have these many years."

Kenneth C Vliet wrote on Feb 25, 2020:

"I, Ken Vliet, have good memories of Jeff Berger, a classmate at North Hunterdon High School in Flemington New Jersey. We spent 4 years together in Vocational Agriculture program there. We usually ate lunch together every day. Jeff was president of our 1961 Senior Class. On our class trip to Washington, DC, he did us proud by sneaking out after 9 pm curfew and buying food for myself and our 2 buddies Glen Sliker and Ron Batson. Jeff got caught and the chaperones at our food. I am so glad to have continued our friendship for all these years. Our deepest sympathy to Fran, Sarah and Phillip from Annette & Ken."

Laura Bestler wrote on Feb 24, 2020:

"I am grateful that I got to know Professor Berger while taking CyRide red route to campus each day. He always had a good story, perfect advice, and a smile that just helped the world shine a bit more. I know that he loved his work at Iowa State - and especially loved his family. My prayers out to you all and all who knew him - Peace, Laura Bestler"

Jackie wrote on Feb 23, 2020:

"Dear Frances Ann and Family, We?re sorry to hear of Jeff?s fight with ALS. And I?m very saddened to hear of the sorrow the family has been going through. It tough as my dad suffered for 10 years with it. Jeff?s resting in Gods hands now . My prayers with you and your family. Love Don and Jackie"

Mary Hegland Kennedy wrote on Feb 20, 2020:

"Sarah & Philip, so sorry to hear about your father's passing. "

Pamela Riney-Kehrberg wrote on Feb 17, 2020:

"I am so sorry to hear about Jeff. For years, we rode the same bus to, and often from, work. He always had something kind to say. He?d light up with a smile, and we would have a lovely conversation. He was such a good man."

Denny Funk wrote on Feb 15, 2020:

"Jeff was a wonderful, kind, and thoughtful instructor, adviser and friend. I recall many times sitting in his office while a graduate student, never ever being told that he was too busy to help you right now. He always had time for students. I fondly remember Jeff and Fran opening their home to my family for a reception following my graduation from graduate school. Scores of other graduate students could share similar stories. My sincere condolences to the family. He will be missed by so many. "

David Kelley wrote on Feb 14, 2020:

"If you look in the dictionary for the meaning of gentleman or gentle man, both should include a picture of Jeff. He always had a smile, always greeted you warmly whether you had last seem him five minutes ago or five years ago. Never a frown, always a smile. Always ready to lend a hand or offer a suggestion, no matter how small or large the request. The world is a darker place with him no longer in it. My deepest sympathy to Fran, Sarah and Phillip. David Kelley"