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Published June 27, 2013, 12:00 AM

Iona Cooper Berg

Iona Cooper Berg, 93. Of Detroit Lakes, MN died peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, June 20 at Emmanuel Community.

Iona was born December 29, 1919 to Walter and Gladys (Sather) Forney in Egeland, ND. She attended school in Egeland and graduated as salutatorian in 1937. After graduating she attended Minot State Teacher’s College, where she received her teaching certification. She taught in Churches Ferry, ND, Larimore, ND and Fargo, ND.

Iona Cooper Berg

Iona Cooper Berg, 93. Of Detroit Lakes, MN died peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, June 20 at Emmanuel Community.

Iona was born December 29, 1919 to Walter and Gladys (Sather) Forney in Egeland, ND. She attended school in Egeland and graduated as salutatorian in 1937. After graduating she attended Minot State Teacher’s College, where she received her teaching certification. She taught in Churches Ferry, ND, Larimore, ND and Fargo, ND.

As a baby Iona suffered from polio. Her parents were grateful they could take her to the Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis with the help of a friend who was a Shriner. She always gave credit to her mother that she was able to walk. Every evening from infancy through high school her mother would massage her leg with warm banana oil.

Iona married Earl Cooper son of Albert and Minnie (Olson) Cooper on June 24, 1943 in Egeland, ND. Earl and Iona taught in Larimore before buying the Larimore Pioneer Newspaper in 1951. They worked as a team to publish the local paper each Thursday. Even through Earl’s illness, Iona managed to get the paper out on time each week. Earl died in August of 1955.

After her husband’s death, Iona worked at the Elk Valley State Bank in Larimore, opened a private kindergarten and then returned to education. She became the first principal of the new Larimore Elementary school. She attended evening and weekend classes at UND and received her BS in 1965. She received MA in special education in 1966. She accepted a position in Fargo, ND to teach special education.

September 14, 1969 Iona married Dr. H. Milton Berg of Detroit Lakes, MN and Anna Maria, FL. They spent summers on Big Detroit Lake and winters in Florida. Together Milt and Iona traveled the world and shared many adventures. Milton died in December of 1979. Iona decided to start a new life in Sun City, AZ. She continued to give of her talents by volunteering for the Red Cross and visiting heart patients after her own open heart surgery. She also enjoyed her music, reading and playing bridge.

Love of family was always foremost in Iona’s life. She always said how blessed she was to have wonderful parents, siblings, husbands, children and relatives. She was an avid reader, educator, musician, businesswoman, family historian and lifelong learner.

Iona will be missed by her daughter, Cindy (Jim) Legler, Detroit Lakes, MN; daughter-in-law, Jan Cooper, Glen Ullin, ND; grandchildren, Christopher (Valerie) Legler, Seattle, WA; Erika (Mark) Nesvig, Savage, MN; Michael Cooper, Bismarck, ND; Erin (Adam) Kuntz, Bismarck, ND; great-grandsons, Cooper Legler, Mario Nesvig, Logan and Conner Kuntz; sister-in-law, Dolores Forney; brother-in-law, Vernon Cooper; nephews and nieces, Joel Grove, Colleen (Bob) Rock, Jay (Mary) Forney, David (Nancy) Forney, Donald (Joan) Forney, Jim (Sue) Forney, Dian Cooper, Jim Cooper, Judy (David) Van Auken.

Proceeding her in death were her parents, husbands, son, Alan Cooper; brother, Walter Forney; sisters, Aleta Grove and Joie Lu Forney; and nephew, Michael Grove.

Iona resided at The Madison as part of Emmanuel Community. The family would like to thank the staff for the kindness and care shown to Iona during the past three years.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes, MN on Monday, July 1 at 2 PM. Interment will be at Bellevue Cemetery in Larimore, ND at 11 AM on Tuesday, July 2. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Hospital, Sanford Foundation for Children, the Salvation Army or to the charity of your choice.

The David-Donehower Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. On-line tributes can be shared at www.daviddonehower.com.

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