Wisconsin Fire Chief Dies of Embolism at Meeting

North Prairie, Wisconsin firefighters are mourning the loss of their chief and mentor after he suffered a pulmonary embolism and died during a meeting August 11, 2005.

Chief Edwin Berg, 67, had volunteered with the North Prairie Fire Department for 22 years.

"He was more like a father to the members than a chief," said Assistant Chief Brian Taylor. "He always made sure everyone was taken care of... he was just a generous, generous man."

Berg had been on leave from the department for the past four months after being diagnosed with both lung and liver cancer, Taylor said. He was successfully battling the lung cancer with chemotherapy and was optimistic about his recovery.

The chief was representing the fire department at a North Prairie Village Board meeting when he became ill.

"Prior to that meeting he talked to the police and fire commission about coming back part time to take over some of his administrative duties," Taylor said. "He looked good, felt great, and just had a coughing attack at the meeting. He came back spitting up blood and went to the floor, and that's when they called us."

Berg's fellow firefighters responded, including two who were already present at the meeting as Village Board members.

Berg is survived by four children, including a son and a daughter who are on the fire department.

Before he joined the department, Berg and his late wife, Cynthia, were co-owners of Genesee Floral Gardens, his daughter told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A fire closed the business in the mid-1980s, sparking Berg's passion for the fire department.

Berg was also a retired machinist, and worked part time at the Garden Center at Walmart.

He was also a member of the Waukesha County Fire Chief's association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

"He has touched all of our lives," Taylor said.

About 27 fire departments attended the funeral service and the after-service dinner at the fire department on August 18.

Services were held at the Reformation Lutheran Evangelical Church in Genesee, Wisconsin.

Memorials may be made to any of the following organizations: North Prairie Fire Department at 108 East Oakridge Drive, Box 296, North Prairie, Wisconsin 53153; Reformation Lutheran Evangelical Church in Genesee, Wisconsin; or the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin (http://www.chw.org/display/jhome.asp).