Stan & June: To have and to hold

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 7, 2012 - 4:05 PM

Stanton Berg guides his wife June's rolling recliner into the chapel of the Benedictine Health Center at Innsbruck in New Brighton for reflection and prayers. He is remembering for both of them now.

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Stanton Berg holds the hand of his wife of 55 years, June, in the chapel of a health center in New Brighton.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Dml -

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Editor's note: June Berg passed away Oct. 23, 2008, at 80, after a nearly 11-year journey into Alzheimer’s Disease.

Most days at 12:15 p.m., Stanton Berg, 79, guides his wife's rolling recliner into the chapel of the Benedictine Health Center at Innsbruck in New Brighton for reflection and prayers. Gently he turns June, 80, east toward the largest stained-glass window, the one with the heart, dedicated to her: "In honor, and memory, of June K. Berg, loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend." Stan is remembering for both of them now.

Their song was "Tennessee Waltz," their favorite city London. During eight trips there, they never lost their giddy delight that two farm kids raised during the Great Depression would know such abundance in their lifetimes. June, a homemaker, taught her forensic scientist husband how to navigate the Underground and double-decker buses.

They have four children, 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren. Her decline was slow, giving Stan time to steady himself as she descended into a world he could not reach.

He's no longer bitter toward God or couples who laugh as they share a restaurant meal. Now all he feels is gratitude. He is by her side 30 hours a week. At home, he prepares "lots of ham sandwiches" and pours himself into a letter-writing campaign decrying the devastation of Alzheimer's disease.

He saves his sweetest words for her. "If you travel into life's sunset before me," he writes to June, "walk slowly -- wait up -- watch for me."

 

DO YOU KNOW A SPECIAL DUO?

"Duets" is an occasional feature that celebrates unique relationships between two people, related or not. Send ideas to: grosenblum@startribune.com or call 612-673-7350. please put "Duets" in the subject line.

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