Carl Eugene (Gene) “Bergie” Bergenholtz

Carl Eugene (Gene) “Bergie” Bergenholtz, 82, of Bridgeport, Wash., passed away on January 24, 2017.  He was born July 20, 1934, in Hazelton, Idaho, and later moved with his family to Methow, Wash., in 1937.
In his youth, Gene packed mules in the Methow valley, jockeyed quarter horses, and played drums.  He had a natural talent for sports throughout his life.  He excelled at football while attending Pateros High School, earning five letters before graduating in 1952 (he started playing in the 8th grade, since the school was short on players).  He bowled on a league with the best of them, was a hotshot water skier and a skilled softball player, and impressed many with his pool skills.  But his all-time favorite thing to do was fishing – on the Methow River, behind Chief Joseph Dam, down in Mexico, and especially in Yakutat, Alaska.  He enjoyed hunting, but in later years preferred to shoot with his camera.  A good day was driving up in the country looking for wildlife.  He enjoyed gardening and canning what he grew.  He was adventurous when it came to cooking and baking and was up to tackling any recipe.  You could always find him wearing one of his witty t-shirts about being a dad, a grandpa, a fisherman, or old (but great) and retired.  
While serving in the U.S. Coast Guard in Alameda, Calif., during 1955-1959, Gene received a bravery award for saving a young girl from drowning in Lake Merritt.  He started his career as a truck driver with Ringsby Truck Lines in Oakland, Calif., where he was recognized as a “goodwill ambassador” for his enthusiasm and outstanding service.  He kept on truckin’ with PIE in California, then Magi and Mumma Trucking after moving back up to Washington in 1978.  He was a career-long member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and a proud member of the Masons, Freemasons, and Shriners.  He got a kick out of driving his red mini car in Shriner parades and loved helping children be admitted into Shriners Hospital in Spokane.
Gene loved his kids, his grandkids, his friends’ kids, all kids.  He was a big kid himself, with an even bigger personality, tucked into a compact body.  You could count on him to be opinionated, fun, playful, and loveable. The Liar’s Club at CJ’s just isn’t the same without him.
Gene is survived by his son, Kenneth Bergenholtz; daughter, Lisa Segal (Mitch); stepdaughter, Deborah Styers (Brian Bjodstrup); grandchildren, Cameron, MacKinnon and Ian Bergenholtz, Victoria and Adam Bjodstrup; and brother, Paul Bergenholtz.  Gene was preceded in death by his parents, James and Opal (Wright) Bergenholtz, and his brother, James Bergenholtz.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the Eagles, 1030 Columbia Avenue, Bridgeport, Wash.  Please bring your stories to share.

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