Eliane Thérèse Berger, née Derminghem, of Pasadena, CA, died serenely at home on September 8, 2022, with all nine of her children at her side.
Eliane was born in 1937 in Caudéran, a suburb of Bordeaux, France. The youngest of 3 girls, she lived under German occupation from 1940-1944, then emigrated to the U.S. in 1956, where she lived in Fellows, California, before attending Mount St. Mary’s College; and upon graduation, became a teacher at Mayfield Sr. School.
In 1959, she attended a dance where she immediately caught the eye of a young man named Peter Berger, who, struck by her beauty and charm, turned to his friend and declared, “That’s the woman I’m going to marry.” Sure enough, they were engaged one month after their first date and spent the next 60 years with each other, having 9 children and 16 grandchildren along the way.
To her children, Eliane was a best friend, a spiritual advisor, a guidance counselor and a champion; someone who listened more than she would speak. She taught acceptance vs. repression; forgiveness vs. retribution; tolerance vs. narrow-mindedness. She gave advice only when asked, and more often, allowed the person she was speaking with to arrive at their own best decision. She could command a room with a hushed voice and her nine children knew they were really in trouble when it lowered to a whisper.
To everyone, she was known by her charm and elegance, her endearing accent, her quiet strength, her beautiful handwriting, her honesty and sweetness. She recognized the good in everyone she met, which made her a friend to all and an enemy to none. “There is no duplicity in her.”
She has always been a loving, generous, and thoughtful wife, mother, grand-maman, and friend; and at the end, when administered by care givers, she never failed to say, “thank you, Dahling” for every tiny thing.
Predeceased by her husband Peter, her dog Lucy, and Queen Elizabeth II, Eliane is survived by her nine children and their spouses/partners: Martha Johnson (Frederick); Peter (Ingrid); Brian (Anne); Paul (Sandra Lemus-Hernández); Michael (Stacy); Jonathan (Robert Nachman); Angelique (Kirk Bruderer); Chantal Bennett (Stephen); and Ariana Kirkpatrick (David); sixteen grandchildren; her older sister, Jeanette Menteur; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Notre mère, admirée de tous, sera infiniment regrettée.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, September 14, 11 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1527 Fremont Ave. South Pasadena 91030.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following:
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801
Lustgarten Foundation for Panreatic Cancer Research
415 Crossways Park Drive Suite D
Woodbury, NY 11797