By Betty Williamson
You would be hard-pressed to gather more than three people in eastern New Mexico or West Texas without finding at least one who had a story about Herbert Bergstrom, the beloved pastor who died Aug. 1 after 97 years of making our world a kinder, gentler place.
Dr. B was Baptist by affiliation and training, but he was truly a pastor of the people. He never let anyone’s faith (or lack thereof) get in the way of a friendship.
A member of the Portales Rotary Club the year my dad was president in the mid-1970s, Dr. B was a lifesaver, always standing by with a good-natured joke from his endless supply, or a spur-of-the-moment program when one canceled on short notice. He never used notes or seemed to require preparation. He had a knack for always showing up where he was needed most — be it a meeting, a hospital room, or a funeral home — with exactly the right words.
Dr. B could convey more comfort with fewer words than anyone I’ve ever known. Part of that came from his enormous heart. The rest might have come from a remarkable command of language.
Besides being able to apply English like a balm, Dr. B was fluent in Greek and Hebrew, and — according to his son-in-law — had also passed exams in German and French.
How much he will be missed? Well, for that, unfortunately, there are no words.
Betty Williamson wishes the world had more Herbert Bergstroms. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.