Bergey, Gilbert (1877-1950)
Gilbert Bergey, church leader and dairy farmer; born 13 September, 1877 in Waterloo County, Ontario to David and Louisa (Bowman) Bergey. He was the eldest son in a family of four sons and three daughters. On 8 October 1902 he married Angeline (Angie) Martin (19 November 1877-27 February 1942) in Elmira. They were members of the Blenheim Mennonite Church near New Dundee and took up residence on the Bergey dairy farm. They had one son, David. Gilbert Bergey died 16 January 1950 and was buried at the Blenheim Mennonite Church.
Both Gilbert and Angie taught Sunday School classes. As a young man, Gilbert taught the Young Ladies' Class; his next assignment was the Mothers' Class. Angie found her niche in teaching the Beginners' Class. Gilbert led congregational singing using a "tuning fork" to get the pitch; he was never known to falter when the music was written in "shaped notes".
In 1921, Gilbert's father, David Bergey, the aged deacon at Blenheim asked to step back from active service. When the voice of the congregation was sought and the lot was cast, it fell on Gilbert who succeeded his father as deacon on 17 July 1921 . He also followed his father as secretary of the Mennonite Conference of Ontario from 1922-1940. He also served on the conference Welfare Board organized to assist indigent widows and orphans and to counsel persons in financial difficulty within the Ontario conference constituency.
In his vocation as a dairy farmer, Gilbert processed most of his milk supply into cheese which he sold at a nearby Farmers Market. He also sent a small quantity of milk to the local New Dundee Co-Operative Creamery. This led to a call on his counseling skills by non-Mennonite neighbors. In the mid 1930s a sharp controversy arose between the co-operative’s directors and its patrons. Due to Gilbert Bergey's reputation in as a skillful mediator, he was elected as a director. It was a demanding request to which he responded with hesitation but served with integrity.
Gilbert Bergey has a quiet and cheerful nature. He was sought by many for his wise counsel; he was a stable voice in the Ontario Mennonite community in the decades prior to World War II.
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MLA style: Bergey, Lorna. "Bergey, Gilbert (1877-1950)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2004. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B4542.html.
APA style: Bergey, Lorna. (June 2004). Bergey, Gilbert (1877-1950). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B4542.html.