Dean Berk Profile Photo
1941 Dean 2023

Dean Berk

September 19, 1941 — November 1, 2023

Dean Berk of Cleveland, Tennessee died on All Saints' Day, November 1 and joined the great band of saints awaiting the resurrection. A true renaissance man, he had many talents and interests from aeronautics to law to construction to philanthropy. He is survived by his wife of almost 54 years, Caroline, and his daughters, Jenny and Sara, his son in law, Greg Koenig, and his grandchildren, Drew and Sarie Hoffner.

Dean was born September 19, 1941 in Omaha, NE, the son of Gunther and Agnes Berk. He always wanted to be a pilot and after college joined the Air Force. As an Air Force officer, he flew in Vietnam, then worked with NASA piloting the Vomit Comet and ferrying the moon rocks. While stationed at Patrick AFB, Cape Canaveral, he met his long time love, Caroline, and they began their life together. After they were married, Dean was hired by Delta, based in Atlanta, where he remained until he retired. He flew many different planes with the final realized goal of flying the "only" plane, the L10-11. As pilots tend to do, he also had several "side hustles". He earned a law degree and helped many people with adoptions, wills, and other legal minutiae. He was a bricklayer, welder, electrician, plumber, mechanic, builder, and cook. If it could be done, he learned how to do it, even spaying a cat!

After retirement, he and Caroline moved up to Cashiers, NC, fulfilling another dream of living in the mountains. While in Cashiers, Dean passed his contractor's exam, built his house, and ran a handyman business. After 10 years, family and the lower lands were calling and he and Caroline moved to Cleveland, TN where he spent his final 13 years surrounded by family and active in his church, St Luke's Episcopal Church, and the local DAV chapter. One of his favorite pastimes while in Cleveland was cooking for and attending the Friday morning men's group at St Luke's.

Dean's life as a believer was very important to him and he was active in church communities wherever he lived. Following the example and teachings of Jesus, he gave his time, talent, and treasure to the least of us. He was a board member of Lutheran Ministries of Georgia, and a member of the national stewardship committee of the American Lutheran Church. He supported CASA, Foundation House, and the Caring Place Sackpack meal ministry which provides weekend meals for elementary school children (all in Bradley County), as well as the Atlanta Family Shelter, Lutheran World Relief, Habitat for Humanity, and many others. He and Caroline fostered children, both as an emergency house, and for medically fragile infants, and housed pregnant teenagers.

Dean succumbed to kidney disease after deciding to quit dialysis. He left this world on his own volition and in his last days was surrounded by all the many friends and family members who loved him.

A memorial service will be held at St Luke's Episcopal church on November 9 at 2 pm with visitation at noon. Dean's wish is that donations would be made to local helping organizations in lieu of flowers.

Foundation House Ministries

The Caring Place (Sackpack Meal Ministry)

CASA of Bradley and Polk County

Lutheran Disaster Relief

ELCA World Hunger Relief

Episcopal Relief & Development

Hearth Hospice

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