Mary Ellen Berger

Mary Ellen Berger

June 27, 1951 – May 7, 2018

Mary Ellen Berger, 66, of Ninilchik, Alaska died on May 7, 2018 at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna.

She passed away peacefully with her family by her side, her family said.

Mary was born in Wenatchee, Washington on June 27, 1951 to Harold and Bernice (Carney) Cunningham. She graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1969.

Mary was a free spirit in the early ’70s. She lived with her dear lifelong friend, Kathleen Smith (Morton). She found herself in Spokane and on road trips with her brother. She was a bold, fearless woman and journeyed to Alaska’s Dutch Harbor for two summer seasons to work in canneries all on her own before meeting the love of her life.

Mary met her husband, Jeff Berger, in 1975 in Wenatchee. Jeff and a friend were drywalling a house, a community church project, and Mary was to be the first tenant. They were officially introduced at a party where Mary wrote her phone number for Jeff in the dust on the dashboard of his car. This was the beginning of a beautiful life together. Mary and Jeff were married on Sept. 2, 1977.

Mary and Jeff went back and forth between working in Alaska and obtaining their degrees at Western Washington University in Bellingham. She graduated cum laude and passed the CPA exam in 1984. Alaska kept drawing them back and they first moved to Anchorage in 1985. She worked in Anchorage with Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility as an accountant. Then in the late ’80s they moved to Ninilchik, for as Mary has said many times, “It’s the best place to raise a family.”

Ninilchik welcomed Mary and Jeff as they built their legacy around Deep Creek Custom Packing for 26 years. They were a brilliant team and through their business and commitment to Ninilchik they acquired many lifelong friendships.

Mary found joy in the simple things in life: family dinners, holidays, baking, traveling, a good mystery to solve and getting lost in her world of numbers. She was a kind-hearted, adventurous, compassionate woman who loved to spend time with her granddaughters. She had a smile that could light up the room, and will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her father, Harold Cunningham; mother, Bernice Cunningham(Carney); and uncle, Tom Carney.

She leaves behind her husband of 40 years, Jeff Berger; a daughter, Anna Berger; a son and his family, Aaron and Brittany Berger; four grandchildren, Sally, Emma, Alice and Fernanda Berger; her siblings, Ann Erickson(Cunningham), Bill and Jim Cunningham; a stepmother, Virginia Cunningham; and many nieces and nephews.

Arrangements made by Homer Funeral Home &Cremation Services.

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