The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 15, 2013

Our View: Berger epitomized community

The Joplin Globe

— There are times when a person dies. Then there are times when an entire era passes away.

That is the kind of void that was left by Friday’s death of Joe Berger.

The longtime Joplin businessman died at the age of 93. Pearl Brothers True Value Hardware Store at 617 S. Main St. in Joplin is only a part of his legacy to this community.

Berger was the real deal in every sense of the word.

During World War II, he served under Gen. George Patton, earning four Bronze stars for his acts of heroism.

After the war, Berger and his father, Jake, came to Joplin to purchase a hardware store that Gus and Dave Pearl had opened in 1905 at 220 S. Main St. Berger would move Pearl Brothers Hardware and Sporting Goods to 617 S. Main St. in March 1965, and later expanded it. Berger’s son, Harold, would join him in the business as assistant general manager in 1977.

His “heroics’ extended beyond the battlefields. He was known as a benefactor to those in need. In 2000, he donated a building at Seventh Street and Joplin Avenue to be used as the Community Clinic of Joplin.

He was a lifetime member of the Joplin Elks Lodge 501 and a 50-year member of the Fellowship Masonic Lodge No. 345.  He was a member of the United Hebrew Congregation, the Scottish Rite “Valley of Joplin,” Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Temple in Springfield, Joplin Shrine Club and Joplin Veterans of Foreign Wars.

His presence was very much evident in the fabric of our town. His death reminds us we should pay more gratitude to those who helped shape this community.

Funeral services, including an Elks memorial, will be held today at the United Hebrew Congregation in Joplin.

Joplin will miss this soldier, businessman and benefactor.