Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snowmaggedon claims a friend.

Today I received news no one wants to hear. Snowmaggedon claimed a long-time friend of mine. I first met Kent Bergren when I started working at Illinois Bell. He and I were fourth-floor buddies, me in General Applications, he in Payroll. Our careers crisscrossed over the years, we moved to different departments, different buildings, different cities, but always seemed to come together again. I went to his wedding and his eldest son's christening.  We were in the same department when I decided to retire in 2008, and he helped throw the farewell party, complete with a homemade game for me to use to remember all the years with Illinois Bell, Ameritech, Ameritech Applied Technologies, Ameritech (again), SBC and finally AT&T, all without ever having to polish up a resume or head on a job search, through the wonders of divestiture and merger.

He went out to shovel snow. Felt pressure in his chest and died. He was fifty-five.  I hadn't seen him in years, but he was always fun, enthusiastic and friendly, upbeat and ready to work on any problem.

It's hard to think of the world continuing without him.


Amy Atwell said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Kent @ AT&T on his latest project. I have known him for years, and was pleased to be working with him directly. I sit in a cube in Hoffman & I'm no more than 50 feet from Kent's office. I spoke with him multiple times every day, and he passed by my cube regularly on his way to & fro. Today is a very strange day here without him. He & I joked about almost everything going on. He jokingly referred to me as 'Trouble' when he'd pass by.

I agree with everything you wrote about Kent. He was a person that I admired for both his great intellect as well as his sharp wit. I will miss him very much.

My thoughts and prayers are for his family and close friends.


Sheldon said...

Barbara- Sorry to relink through such a tragic occasion. I worked occasionally with Kent remotely and had a pleasant lunch with him the one time we met face-to-face in California.


Judi Bonham said...

I considered Kent to be my "office best friend". He was my boss for a couple of years and since then we have maintained a strong friendship. We spoke every day at work and could discuss almost anything. We agreed on most topics...but we also had some lively disagreements. He was as devoted to his family as anyone I have ever known. I send his family and friends my deepest condolences. I know that he was a very important part of my life. He is irreplaceable and I will remember him always.

Rick Dishman said...

I have worked with Kent for more then 20 years and will truly miss his humor, dedication to the right cause and friendship. Kent and I recently worked on a project that would stress even the calmest person with late evening and weekend work that lasted 13 months. Kent was always there for the team and somehow maintained his well known steady and calm nature. I will miss going to his office just a few feet away and talking about everything from sports to his family activities. My prayers go out to his entire family. May god be with Kent and family.

Carrie Kolar said...

I knew Kent at work AT&T.I have only had the privledge of knowing him for a few short years, but I have never known a nicer, more giving person. We spoke daily and had great conversations that I will always cherish. He was a Genious at math and helped me through "re-learning" Algebra when I decided to go back to school. I will miss him dearly. My thought go out to his family and all the lives he has touched.

Anonymous said...

Like many others at AT&T our paths crossed several times throughout our careers. Kent has always been a good co-worker, mentor, and friend. Kent worked hard to someday enjoy the autumn years of his life with his loved ones. I am saddened to learn that the whiteness of winter has taken Kent before he could see life’s autumn colors.

My deepest sympathy goes out to Kent’s family.

Ed Garon

B. A. Binns said...

I hate loseing Kent, but it it awesome to know how many people cared for him and will remember him. In the last two days hundreds of people stopped by this post. He was truely a good friend to many many people.

mystwood said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your friend's passing. My prayers are with him, his family, and all of you who mourn his loss.


Anonymous said...

I met Kent and his wife Teresa on the 4th floor of 225 W Randolph back in 1985 as a young whipper-snapper just out of college. Over the years, I have never forgotten how the two of them looked at each other. There was so much love in the air when they were around.

As the years progressed, I lost touch with Teresa but would occasionally see Kent. Always with a happy smile and something nice to say.

Last year, I had the pleasure of presenting a scholarship to their daughter through the Women Of AT&T - Northern Illinois Chapter. It was so lovely to see both of them again. I couldn't believe that 25 years had passed and they had a grown daughter. It just seemed like yesterday when they were just dating.

I, too, can't imagine that the world goes on without someone wonderful like Kent. But, somehow it does.

My deepest sympathies go out to Teresa, Dan, and Stephanie.

Maureen Cunningham-Vopinek