Herbert Berger Trefzger
born 1902, died 1988
   


'Herb' was born Herbert Berger Trefzger on 8/22/1902 in Peoria, IL. On 12/27/1924 he married Bertha. He died on 2/15/1988 in Cincinnati, OH.

Dad was born in Peoria, IL in 1902. The Fred Trefzger family moved to 505 Bryan Street in 1902. I don't know if they moved before Dad was born or just after Dad was born. About 1906 the Fred Trefzgers moved to Cincinnati. They were going to live in a 2 family apartment building that Uncle Jack Sheblessy was building at 1966 Queen City Avenue. The building wasn't ready so the family moved in with the Bergers at 2567 Queen City Ave.

Dad started grade school at St. Bonaventure's in Lick Run in 1908. I assume that they moved into the 2nd floor of 1966 Queen City Avenue about the same time. The Fred Trefzgers lived there until after Aunt Elsa was born. Then the apartment was too small for the family. About 1911 they bought a home at 2929 Lisher Avenue in Westwood. Dad finished his grade school at the new St. Catharine School from the 4th to the 8th grade. Dad was the only boy, with 7 girls in the first graduating class in 1916.

From 1916 to 1920 Dad rode the street car up to Hughes High School in Clifton Heights. He loved sports and played quarterback on the football team his senior year. After Dad had graduated from High School he studied drafting and mechanical drawing at night school at the Ohio Mechanics Institute.

Dad was working for the Richardson Company out in Lockland. A foreman's position opened up at their Chicago plant. Immediately after Pop married Mom in December 1924 they moved to the Chicago area. Mom and Pop moved back to Cincinnati in March 1927. Mom's notes say "Richardson merged with Flintcote Roofing. They offered Herb an office job in the Loop. That settled it, he wanted no part of working in an office." I think both Mom and Pop were a little homesick. They both wanted to be back in Cincinnati with their families. But most of all I think that Pop did not like working for a big firm. He wanted to be his own boss. He wanted to study interior decorating and to have his own business.

After the family arrived back in Cincinnati we lived with Mom's mother and father rent free on Burnet Avenue. Dad immediately started night school studying Interior Decorating at the University of Cincinnati. He started doing house cleaning jobs to try to bring in a little income. He called his business 'The Modern Home Service'. In 1929 the depression hit. After Grandpa Harry lost his job we moved to Grandpa and Grandma Trefzger's at 3450 Cheviot Avenue rent free. January 30,1932 Jim was born. During the summer of 1932 Dad, Aunt Elsa, Wally Sheblessy and Aunt Adele Berger all graduatied from U.C.

In 1934 Grospapa (Fred) Trefzger lost his job with Boehnlein Poultry Company. Our stay with Grandpa and Grandma Trefzger just didn't work out.

Mom's mother and dad offered us their 3rd floor. Aunt Madie, Grandpa's sister was already living Grandma and Grandpa. Pop and Mom put a small bathroom and a small kitchen in the 3rd floor of 2230 Burnet Avenue in Mount Auburn and we moved in, again rent free.

During the 1930s Pop was doing his best to try to get a business started and to bring in some income, but it was very difficult. Several times Dad was summoned to court because he couldn't pay his bills. It wasn't until the late 1930s that Pop was able to begin to get his decorating business to bring in some income.

Paul was born June 27,1939, and there were 5 of us living in 3 small rooms in the 3rd floor, with no air-conditioning. During the summer we spent as many evenings as possible having a swim and a picnic supper on Berger Hill.

In 1941 Dr. & Mrs. Dash's home at 3444 Cheviot Avenue became available right next to the Trefzger family homestead. Mom & Pop were interested and bought 3444 Cheviot. I think they paid about $7,800. In January 1942 Pop, Mom, Jim, and Paul moved into our new home.

On the world scene, Hitler had built up large military power in Germany and had invaded Poland, and then France. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. And we were in the war. Production of interior decorating items was stopped and manufacturing was switched over to war materials. Pop had noting to sell, and was out of business.

Dad had a slight nervous breakdown during those years. The physical work taking off wallpaper, stripping paint off woodwork, patching cracks, painting etc. in the new home, and yard work was good for him. Carl Deifel offered Dad some work in the store at the Cincinnati Color Company. Dad did work in the store at the Color Company. He also started to pray more and started going to daily Mass. All of this helped Dad pull out of his depression.

After the war Dad had set up a small interior design studio in the second floor of the Otto Fast building on Reading Road. I got out of the Navy in August, started at U.C. in September, and started to Co-op, working for Dad later that year. From that office we tried to promote a small interior design business, and a new manufacturers rep business. After a couple of years Otto Fast wanted our space so we had to move. We moved into Mom's Mother's living room and dining room on Burnet Avenue. We had samples, papers, files, and stuff all over the place. About 1949 Pop found a residence on Woodburn Avenue that he thought would make a good office. We bought the old Doctor Decoursy family home at 3014 Woodburn.

From 1946 to 1950 while I was studying Architecture and Co-oping, Jim was in high school doing quite well in sports. Buddy Post baseball champs, Elder swimming (breaststroke state champ), Elder baseball, and Elder football. Mom and Dad watched a lot of swimming meets, baseball and football games. And they did a lot of traveling to see some of them.

By the early 1950s the decorating business had tapered off and Dad was devoting all of his time and energy to the manufacturers rep business.

During the early 1960s Pop and Mom began taking more and longer vacation trips. Finally after a trip to Hawaii in 1967 Pop never came back into the office.

By 1966 the Jerry Trefzger family had moved into a home just behind Mom and Dad's, and Jim and his family had moved into a home next to Mom and Dad's. So Dad put a swimming pool in his back yard for his 10 grandchildren. For 22 years during Dad's retirement he enjoyed the back yard, the pool, figuring the horses, the grandchildren, the family celebrations on the holidays, and traveling with Mom. In February 1988 he came into the kitchen, sat down at the kitchen table overlooking the back yard, told Mom that he was tired. Mom said "Why don't you go upstairs and take a nap". Dad said "I can't make it up the stairs." He slumped over and died very peacefully and very suddenly."

Dad is buried in the Heinzman Plot in Spring Grove Cemetery.


Fred's 'Stories'
Fred Berger has written an excellent book 'Stories from The Berger History'.

For information about 'a squabble on the Hill' see the link to "Fred's 'Stories'p.70".


My comments on Fred's 'Stories'p.70
1. “...and besides, pretty Linda Meyer lived there and she was a good looker….”
I do not think that Linda attracted Paul to the Hill. She was 6 ½ years younger, and Paul is gay.
2. “...and the family split...”
I can’t say that the family really split.
3. “...he…decided to duplicate the Berger pool experience on his own place not five miles away”
In 1961 we bought 3449 Craig (right behind Mom & Dad's home). In 1966 Jim moved into 3450 Cheviot (right next door to Mom ans Dad's home). In 1966 when the pool was built Lydia and I had 4 children between 7 and 15 years old and Jim and Judy had 6 children between 1 month and 11 years old. Our kids played in our collective back yard.
Dad wanted to keep his grandchildren and their friends at home and in the yard. It was just time to put in a swimming pool.
4. “After a generation the rift was healed…”
I do not believe there was a big rift. Dad just accepted that Paul was not welcome on the Hill. In the over 20 years until Dad died I never heard him utter a disparaging word about uncle Franz, and I never heard uncle Franz utter a disparaging word about Dad.




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