Beloved” is how Jim Johnson described Rene Bergero, Sommer and Maca’s export manager who passed away November 8 (see obituary page 124) after waging a vigorous battle against a fast-moving cancer. Jim is right.
Rene was beloved by all who knew him for the way he made people feel. He was one of the few people in the world who always sounded happy to hear from you in a voice that was sincere. His friends, coworkers and customers all felt that way.
As Rene wrote a column for USGlass for a number of years and we also had the opportunity to work together on a few international projects, I had the privilege of getting to know him a bit.
Rene was a fooler. You would never suspect that this “regular guy” was a PhD candidate in chemistry until he attempted to explain the complex workings of a glass machine. It was then that you would understand what an extraordinary talent he had in translating the complex into language the rest of us “regular guys” really could understand. And then, just when you convinced yourself that he must be a quiet scientist who hid it well, you realized just how much joi de vie he had for life, his family and friends.
Rene got to see a lot of the world in his 48 short years. I remember asking him one time what he was doing for New Year’s Eve, expecting a usual answer about going out to dinner or a party. “Well, we thought about how to best spend it,” he said, “ so we decided to go to the Panama Canal this year.” That was Rene. He lived life fully, but not in a flashy way. He embraced people all over the world and I know they embraced him back. I hope that is a comfort to his wife, Lynn, and his family in the months ahead.
Maya Angelou once said that people will forget your deeds, they will forget what you have done or the awards you received, but they will never, ever forget the way you made them feel. So Rene’s family should know that he will always be remembered by the many, many people he touched in his life.
Speaking of people who’ve touched you (or in my case, created you), I want to turn from the sad to the happy for a minute to make mention of my parents, Kathleen and Fred Kopf of Baldwin, N.Y., who plan to celebrate their 50th anniversary on January 12, 2007. They’ve actually known each other since they were old enough to walk, having grown up on the same street in Queens, one house away from each other. They have lived through the richer and poorer times, through sickness and in health—and provide shining examples to their three children on what’s important in life. I love that I still learn from them everyday.
The happiest of holidays to you this year. All our staff here and I wish you a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year and a very peaceful and prosperous 2007.
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