Dec. 29, 1919-June 20, 2013
Iona Cooper Berg, 93, of Detroit Lakes, died peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at Ecumen-Emmanuel Community, Detroit Lakes.
Iona was born to Walter and Gladys (Sather) Forney on December 29, 1919 in Egeland, N.D. She attended school in Egeland and graduated as a salutatorian in 1937. After graduating, she attended Minot State Teacher's College, where she received her teaching certification. She taught at schools in Churches Ferry, Larimore and Fargo, N.D.
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. 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 the University of North Dakota and received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1965. She received a Master of Arts degree in special education in 1966, and accepted a position to teach special education in Fargo.
On September 14, 1969, Iona Married Dr. H. Milton Berg of Detroit Lakes and Anna Maria, Fla. 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.
Ionia decided to start a new life in Sun City, Ariz., where 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, business woman, family historian and lifelong learner.
Iona will be missed by her daughter, Cindy (Jim) Legler of Detroit Lakes; daughter-in-law, Jan Cooper of Glen Ullin, N.D.; grandchildren, Christopher (Valerie) Legler of Seattle, Wash., Erika (Mark) Nesvig of Savage, Minn., Michael Cooper of Bismarck, N.D. and Erin (Adam) Kuntz, also of Bismarck; 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 and Judy (David) Van Auken.
Preceding her in death were her parents; hus-bands, son, Alan Cooper; brother, Walter Forney; sisters, Aleta Grove and Joie Lu Forney; and nephew, Michael Grove.
Iona resided at The Madison, which was part of the Ecumen-Emmanuel Community in Detroit Lakes. 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 2 p.m. Monday, July 1 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes, with interment at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 2 in Bellevue Cemetery, Larimore, N.D.
As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to the Shriners Hospital, Sanford Foundation for Children, the Salvation Army or the charity of your choice.