David William Bergmann made Lake Waconia the place to be on Independence Day.
For years, the life-long electrician was the architect of the city's pyrotechnics, which lit up the west metro sky and drew thousands of people from miles around.
He teamed with local businesses to lead "Save the Fireworks" campaigns, and he spearheaded fundraisers put on by the Chamber of Commerce so the annual spectacle could go on.
"He was a significant contributor and very involved in the fireworks," said Deb McMillan, who is now president of the SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce but served with Bergmann on the board of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce in the early 2000s.
"He was a great business leader who was all about giving back. If businesses did well, the community did well. If the community did well, businesses did well. He had a big presence. He will be missed."
Bergmann, 60, suffered a stroke earlier this month while on a beach in Florida. He died Dec. 5 at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.
Bergmann grew up on a farm in Hamburg, Minn. As a teenager, he became a handyman who tinkered with engines and became intrigued with electricity, said his son Matt, of Victoria. That led him to earn his master electrician license. He founded the Laketown Electric Corp. in 1975.
He worked solo at the outset, primarily rewiring apartments and condominiums, but soon earned contracts to work on industrial and commercial projects. Over the past 40 years, Laketown has designed and built electrical systems at scores of churches, warehouses, manufacturing facilities and schools in Waconia and the west metro.
Most recently, the company installed a 2-megawatt generator to provide backup power for Ridgeview Hospital in Waconia, a project that made Bergmann particularly proud, Matt said.
"He prided himself on never compromising quality to win a job," Matt said. "It was quality first. He was well known for top craftsmanship. It was important to him to be the best."
Bergmann also helped scores of other electricians get their start by sharing his expertise with them, his son said.
David Bergmann also wanted the best for the youth of his community. He taught Sunday school and helped prepare people for confirmation for more than 15 years at Faith Lutheran Church in Waconia. He also helped pre-teens and teens find their way.
"He loved that age group; he got a lot out of them and helped shape them," Matt said. "He was firm, but kids took a liking to him."
Bergmann also sang in the church choir, was on the building committee and volunteered for many other causes, his son said.
With his full white beard, it was only natural that Bergmann often played the role of Santa Claus for children in Hamburg and Waconia. He also helped coordinate "Hope For the Holidays," a program of the Community Action Partnership of Scott, Carver and Dakota counties that provides toys for underprivileged children.
His civic endeavors included the Waconia-West Rotary, Boy Scout troop leader and volunteer firefighter. He also was an avid stock car racer and was part of a team that participated in events through the American Stock Car Association.
Bergmann is survived by his wife, Christine, whom he met when she was washing his car when both were students at Central High School in Norwood Young America. In addition to his son, Matt, he also is survived by another son, Chris, of Minneapolis; a daughter Shelley Bevilacqua, of Delray Beach, Fla.; a brother, Jeff, of Maple Plain; three sisters, Joyce Sharp, of Minnetrista, and Linda Selmo and Diane Dummer, both of St. Louis Park, and three grandchildren.
Services will be at 4 p.m. Jan. 4 at Mount Olivet West Lutheran Church, 7150 Rolling Acres Road, Victoria. Visitation will be held one hour before services at the church.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768 Twitter: @timstrib