Rockport MA — Gottfried O. Berger passed peacefully at home in Rockport, Mass., on April 29, 2013, with his wife, Karen, of 32 years at his side.
He was born near Chemnitz, Germany in 1924. He was sent to the eastern front during the war and spent the remainder of the war in a Russian POW camp. He attended University of Leipzig where he was active in student politics. Later, the Americans facilitated his exit from East Germany. Settling in Cologne Germany, he earned a PHD in mathematics and risk theory.
Without speaking English, Gottfried started building U.S. ties, ultimately became the founding CEO of Cologne Life Reinsurance in Stamford, Conn., in 1968.
Upon retiring, a colleague shared that Gottfried, "had an idea, had a vision... and had the stamina to turn his thoughts into reality. He almost single-handedly built a major reassurance company from scratch, one of the most highly regarded companies of its kind in the U.S. He has revitalized the story of the immigrant to the U.S. who builds a business based on his personal ingenuity, his drive and his will to accomplish his objectives." The company was later acquired by Berkshire Hathaway.
He is survived by wife, Karen Sena Berger of Rockport; his sister, Dorothea Bleul in Germany; and several nieces and nephews.
ARRANGEMENTS: Burial is private. Family and friends are invited to a celebration of life at their home, Sunday, May 12, from 1 to 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to Thatcher Island Association, P.O. Box 73, Rockport, MA 01966 or Hospice of North Shore, 75 Sylvan St., Danvers, MA 01923.