May 152019

Charles Robert “Bob” Berg ’65 of Detroit died May 8, 2019. He was 76. Raised in central Illinois, Bob became a spokesman and adviser for two of Michigan’s most influential politicians: former Michigan Governor William Milliken and former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young. After his time at Illinois Wesleyan, Bob held reporting roles in Iowa and Nebraska. He left for Lansing, Michigan, to head a state capital bureau for United Press International. He later became state capital bureau chief of Panax Newspapers and, by 1977, was hired to work in the public affairs office of Milliken, the longest-serving governor in state history. He held the role until Milliken left office in 1982, at which point he was hired as a press secretary for Young, the city’s first black mayor. When young left office in 1994, Bob started a public relations firm that lives today as Van Dyke-Horn Public Relations. During his time in Detroit, Bob worked to form a relationship between the Detroit Public Schools and Illinois Wesleyan, in which IWU became the only out-of-state university to participate in the district’s Wade McCree Scholarship Program. Bob was recognized in 2000 with IWU’s Loyalty Award, in 2014 with a John Rakolta Jr. Leadership in Race Relations Award, and in 2018 by the Urban League of Detroit as one of its Distinguished Warriors. He served on the boards of the Coleman A. Young Foundation, Roeper School, Detroit Police Foundation, Detroit Urban League, and Caring Athletes Team for Children’s & Henry Ford Hospitals. He was also a member of Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church. He is survived by his longtime partner, three children, four grandchildren and two siblings, including Karen (Berg) Dolan ’70.  An obituary may be viewed here.

A public visitation will be held from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 16 at Swanson Funeral Home, 14751 West McNichols Road in Detroit. A funeral will begin at 1 p.m. May 17 at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, 8625 E. Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. 

A second funeral will be held at 11 a.m. May 20 at Cissna Park United Methodist Church, 221 W. Koplin Ave. in Cissna Park, Ill. Burial will be at Floral Hill Cemetery, 301 W. Main St. in Hoopeston, Ill. 

 Posted by at 9:32 am

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