Bruce Berens, 100

Sears buyer, Ascension lector

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Bruce A. Berens, 100, of Glen Ellyn, formerly of Oak Park, died on June 7, 2020. Born on May 12, 1920 in Akron, Ohio,  

Jesuit-educated, he graduated from St. Ignatius grade school (1933), Loyola Academy High School (1937), and Loyola University (1941), all in the same Rogers Park neighborhood where he grew up as the oldest of eight children during the Great Depression. He served in the Army in WWII (Pacific duty) for four years after college. Following the war, he enjoyed a 38-year career with Sears Roebuck & Co, mainly as a merchandise buyer. 

On Sundays for decades he served as a lector at Mass at Ascension Catholic Church in Oak Park, where he and Shirley raised the family. They had at least one child in attendance at Ascension School for 24 straight years, 1953-1977. He always helped with homework, and each of his five children went on to achieve one or more post-graduate degrees or certifications. 

His favorite hobbies were working as a weekend carpenter on his Oak Park house, teaching his children sports in the backyard and alley — especially his own favorite, baseball, cheering on the Chicago Cubs. He enjoyed great health over 100 years, and spent only one night in a hospital.

Bruce was the husband of the late Shirley McGrath Berens (married 63 years); the father of Barbara (Arnold) Pagniucci, Marianne (Jeffrey) Huml, Paul (Laura) Berens, Raymond (Ann) Berens, Therese (Michael) Hanneman, and the late Nancy, the late Paul and the late Therese; grandfather of Michael and Lisa Pagniucci, Catherine, Colleen and the late Annmarie Huml, Jaime, Alex and David Hanneman, Kevin and Katie Berens, and Michael and Jackie Berens; great-grandfather of  Lila & Lana Pagniucci and Cecilia & Samuel Hennig; brother of Robert, Carol Dalton, Jerrie McGreal, the late Val Dooley, the late Jean Skinkis, the late Phil and the late Raymond; and the uncle of dozens of nieces and nephews. 

Visitation will be at Leonard Memorial Funeral Home, 565 Duane St., Glen Ellyn, on Friday, June 19, 4-8 p.m. Funeral Mass will be for members of the immediate family at St. Petronille Church in Glen Ellyn, on June 20 at 10 a.m., with interment at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to Loyola University at www.luc.edu/giving are appreciated. 

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