Donald F. Berens
Donald Frank Berens, age 91, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., formerly of Waldorf, Md., died on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at his home.
Born April 2, 1928 in Lorain, Ohio, he was the son of the late Joseph August and Anna Stefik Berens.
One week after graduating from Lorain High School in 1946 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served two years as a yeoman at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla. After his honorable discharge, he attended Oberlin Business College in Lorain.
He worked at U.S. Steel in Lorain and subsequently moved to Washington, D.C. in 1952 to work in the U.S. State Department. He was initially assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Geneva, Switzerland and then rotated back to the states where he accepted a position as a Staff Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor.
He continued to work full-time while he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Education from The George Washington University, attending night school for 14 years.
Along the way he met and married Mary Jane DeSilvester, also of Lorain; they continued to live in Washington, D.C.
In 1967, the couple moved to Waldorf, Md. where they raised two children.
He served as staff assistant for the Education and Labor committee for over 40 years, retiring in 1990 as Senior Staff Assistant.
He was an active member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Waldorf.
In 2005 his wife died but he continued to live at his home, remaining active in local parish functions. He suffered a stroke in 2013 and moved to Berkeley Springs, making an almost total recovery.
He remained very active in his new parish of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Berkeley Springs as well as volunteering at the local soup kitchen and assisting at Family Medicine of Berkeley Springs.
He also was an active member of Silver Sneakers at Rankin Physical Therapy.
He continued to root for his Washington Redskins and get his Sunday Washington Post every week from the local 7-11. He continued to live a full and independent life until a few months before his death.
During his life, he and his wife traveled to Nova Scotia, Alaska, Hawaii, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as Alabama, Utah and California.
They were accomplished dancers and especially loved their polka music.
He loved his wife and remained devoted to her, caring for her during her long illness. He was a devoted, loving and understanding father, grandfather and great grandfather whose wisdom and reassurance was repeatedly sought after by many. He never seemed to have a bad thing to say about anyone. He was never loud or boastful. He loved to visit with family and friends and enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles and walking to Mass every day. His cooking specialties were apple pies, potato salad and stuffed cabbage. All who knew him enjoyed the pleasure of his company.
He is survived by his children, Andrew J. Berens, M.D. and his wife Phyllis of Berkeley Springs, Carole Lynn Vincent and her husband John Vincent, M.D. of Jarrettsville, Md.; one sister, Delores Saltis of Red Hook, N.Y.; one sister-in-law, Jean Berens of Avon, Ohio; five grandchildren, Amanda Susan Wilfong and her husband Robert of Clarksburg, W.Va., Jessica Lynn Berens of Morgantown, W.Va., Joseph Andrew Berens and his wife Cassidy of Morgantown, W.Va., Robert Anthony Berens of Morgantown, W.Va. and Ethan Vincent of Jarrettsville; four great grandchildren, Emily Wilfong and Noah Thompson, both of Clarksburg, W.Va., Ayla Berens and Paxton Berens, both of Morgantown, W.Va. and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Jane DeSilvester Berens; two sisters, Anna Mae Brem and Evelyn Krasienko and three brothers, Edward, Robert and Gerald Berens.
Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 14, 2020 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 67 Liberty Street, Berkeley Springs, W.Va. with the Rev. Fr. John L. Lombardi as celebrant. Military honors will be provided by the Tri-State Honor Guard. I
nterment will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at St. Peter’s Parish Cemetery, 3320 St. Peter’s Drive, Waldorf, Md.
The family will receive friends from 2-4 & 6-8 p.m. on Thursday at Helsley-Johnson Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 95 Union Street, Berkeley Springs, W.Va. where the Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m.
Online condolences may be expressed at www. helsleyjohnsonfh.com.