Kathryn Swanson Berger. Born in Kane, Pennsylvania, on January 11, 1935, of Swedish ancestry. She died on
February 17, 2022, in Opelika, Alabama, at age 87. Having Alzheimer’s, Kathie passed peacefully. Her
last words were, “Thank you. I love you.”
Kathie was a people person; for her there were no strangers, just friends she hadn’t yet met. She
had an enthusiasm for life and a laugh that could be picked out from an entire auditorium. Always a hard
worker, Kathie went to work in her parents’ store in Ludlow when she was five and could count to 100.
She loved children and taught elementary school and speech therapy during a long career in five different
states and in Iceland. She was a beloved teacher who helped her 1 st graders to become authors, writing and
illustrating their own books and presenting them to friends and family on author’s day. She always went
to extra effort to make her classroom a fun and exciting place to learn. Her influence lives on in the lives
of her many students who remember her with fondness. Having taught at Sugar Grove Elementary school
for many years, Kathie would be greeted by one of her former students almost anywhere she went in
She loved her family history and made multiple trips to Sweden to research her genealogy. She
helped plan and encourage many family reunions. Kathie was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in numerous callings throughout her lifetime. Always positive and
caring, Kathie was also adventurous. She lived with her family on the military base in Keflavik, Iceland,
for two years. She also traveled extensively, including to China, Egypt, Scandinavia, Europe, Mexico,
central America, and nearly all the states in the US.
Kathie and her husband, Kurt Berger, were well known for their tree farm in Sugar Grove, PA,
where they lived for 40 years. They bought the farm to be near family in Ludlow after Kurt retired from
the Air Force.
Kathie always lived life to its fullest. Her smile made people smile. Her optimism and generosity
were an inspiration to her family and friends. She was known for the compliments and gratitude she
offered all. She will be missed, and her legacy will live on in the lives of those she loved.
Kathie is survived by her son, Timothy Birt; daughter-in-law, Jamie Marchant; step-sons, Frank
and John Berger; step grandchildren, E.J. Bice and Stephanie Berger; her former husband, Joseph Birt;
and many nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews, including Kristina Porterfield Andriese.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Kurt Berger, in 2019; her grandson, Jesse Marchant Birt, in
2020; her sister, Marge Porterfield, in 2019; her brother, David Swanson, in 2014; and her step-son,
Richard Berger, in 2006.
A viewing and reception was held on February 20 th in Opelika, AL, where she was living near her
son at the time of her death.
Her funeral will be held at 9:30 am ET, on Saturday, February 26, 2022, at the Warren Building
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at 15360 US-6, Warren, Pennsylvania, 16365. A burial
service will be held directly after the funeral in her hometown of Ludlow at the Ludlow Lutheran
Cemetery on High Street. All who knew Kathie are invited to attend to celebrate and honor the life of this
In lieu of flowers, the family requests those wishing to remember her to contribute to her
grandson’s, Jesse Marchant Birt’s, memorial scholarship fund at the University of Alabama, Birmingham,