Dr. Robert Warren Bergeson, 66, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 4, 2016, at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver.
Bob was born to Jules (Bergie) and Gunhild (Goodie) on Nov. 3, 1949, in McCook, Neb. A lifelong love of the Nebraska Cornhuskers was born that day. Bob and his family moved to Billings in 1952, where he proudly attended Miles Avenue Elementary, Lewis and Clark Middle School, and Billings West High School.
Bob excelled at sports, playing baseball for the Billings Post 4 Royals under the watchful eye of the legendary Ed Bayne, as well as playing basketball for West High. After graduation, the pull of the University of Nebraska was too great, and he was off to Lincoln, where he played baseball for the Huskers for one season.
It was in Lincoln, during the fall of 1968, that Bob met the love of his life: Linda Rae. They were married on May 22, 1971, in Columbus, Neb. After graduation, Linda taught grade school and supported Bob until he finished dental school at the University of Nebraska in 1976.
From there, Bob and Linda moved to Governors Island, N.Y., just off the southern tip of Manhattan, where Dr. Bob worked for the Public Health Department as a dentist for the United States Coast Guard. He and Linda cherished their time in New York and made the very most of their short stay.
While in New York, Bob and Linda welcomed their two children to the world: Robert “Robb,” born in 1977; and Melinda “Mindy,” born in 1978.
Shortly after the birth of Mindy, Bob and Linda moved to Billings, where Bob set up his private dental practice that he would run until 2013. He was so proud to be a dentist; his love for his patients and staff was unmatched.
Bob was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease in late 2012. He had two lung transplants in April 2013. After several months of difficult recovery and rehabilitation (with Linda by his side during every step of the way), Bob came home to his friends and family in August of that year.
During the last few years, he taught us all the valuable lesson that “every day is bonus day.” He lived that motto with passion, and passed it along to everyone who had the great fortune of knowing him — including his four special grandkids who learned so much from their Grandpa Bobby.
Dr. Bob was a proud member of the Yellowstone Country Club, where he could be found on most Wednesdays and Fridays playing with the “Team America” crew. If not at the golf course, Grandpa Bobby was likely taking one of the grandkids out on “Adventure Day” or was at one of their many activities.
Bob was honored to serve as the Board President at the Yellowstone Country Club and the Ninth District Dental Society, as a member of the Breakfast Exchange Club and the Billings Mustang Boosters, and as a rules official for the United States Golf Association.
Bob was preceded in death by his mom and dad; Linda’s parents, Doug and Betty Rae; and his brother-in-law, Pete Rae. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Linda; his children, Robb (Heather) Bergeson and Mindy (Tim) Brocopp; as well as his four loving grandkids, Keegan and Tatum Brocopp, and Riley and Finley Bergeson. He is also survived by the best older sister a guy could have: Diane (Dan) Noennig, along with numerous nieces and nephews that he loved so much.
The family would like to thank the amazing medical teams at St. Vincent Healthcare and the University of Colorado Hospital for the great care they provided to Bob and his family — they gave him three great years. Specifically, we’d like to thank Dr. Bullman, Dr. Kahn, Dr. Terry and all the great nurses and staff at St. Vincent Healthcare, as well as the entire Transplant Team at UCH. Thank you.
Finally, it is important for us to thank his angels — the individuals who chose to donate their organs, and, ultimately, life to Bob. He was the proud recipient during two lung transplants, and he wouldn’t have enjoyed those last several years if it weren’t for the generosity of those individuals and their families.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, at First United Methodist Church, 2800 Fourth Ave. N., Billings, MT 59101. A reception will follow at Bob’s favorite spot: Yellowstone Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dr. Bob’s name to Saint Vincent Healthcare Foundation, 1106 N. 30th St., Billings, MT 59101; or the American Transplant Foundation, 600 17th St., Suite 2515 S., Denver, CO 80202.
Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary is assisting with arrangements. Condolences may be made online at www.michelottisawyers.com.