We are delighted to introduce you to Bob Berg as part of our “Neighbor of the Month” series-an effort started last November to highlight Elysian Valley residents. It is our sincere hope that doing so contributes in some fashion to better know one another, build, grow and appreciate the make-up of our community. The EVNW thanks Bob and his family for their contribution to Elysian Valley.
Robert (Bob) Berg is “a man of many hats.” He is 70 years old and was born and raised in Elysian Valley. Bob lives on Newell St. across the street from the one (1) bedroom , one (1) bath house where he was raised by his parents Ralph and Frankie Berg – the house having been originally purchased for $3000. Bob attended Allesandro Elementary School, Washington Irving Jr. High and Marshall High School. He has a BA from Cal State Los Angeles and a Masters in Public Administration from USC.
Bob is a 23 year retired Major from the Army National Guard and made his living working for the Costa Mesa Police Dept., City of Anaheim Fired Dept. and the City of Long Beach Water Dept. He left Elysian Valley at age 26 for work in Orange County and returned 15 years ago to care for his aging mother. Bob describes early Elysian Valley as a” family oriented community – unlike no other.”
He remembers surviving the global cooling scare of the 1950’s, which covered Elysian Valley in snow-“enough to make snow balls and little snow men.” Bob recalls crossing the LA River to get to Irving Middle School, dodging in between trains.
Like other long-term residents, Bob remembers lots of businesses along Riverside Dr. “Everyone went to Dr. Matson on Riverside Dr.” There was Nick’s Bar next to the present day Wong’s Market. Bob too recalls the smell of bread coming from the three local bakeries. He remembers the popular weekend drag races on Riverside Dr. between Fletcher Ave. and Glendale Blvd.
For Bob, life in EV in the mid 1990’s was “less innocent” do to the criminal element that plagued the area. He married his wife Janet in Aug. of 2005 following a courtship that started with a Monday dinner date on Janet’s birthday. To Bob, Janet is simply “incredible”. Her decision to follow him to Elysian Valley and Bob’s genuine desire to help make the area a better place for all made easy the decision to stay in Elysian Valley “for the duration”.
Bob considers himself blessed and when asked why he so willingly offers his time and talents to neighborhood improvement causes he says “because I can, because I care and because I want to be a part of something good.” Bob is known for his generosity and willingness to assist where needed. He donates his time, labor and talents to countless neighborhood improvement projects and is a member of the Mayor’s Crisis Response Team-a volunteer program that provides City residents support and resources during times of crisis.
Bob likes the responsible transformation that the neighborhood is undergoing and already sees rebounding signs of the old Valley. He worries about the rapid development growth and the many not yet met infrastructure improvements. He does not want Elysian Valley to become an unsustainable “Dodger day like, every day”. Bob has followed the “whisper in his heart telling him that in Elysian Valley, he is home, home at last”.