Amherst College In Memory Notice
After his graduation from Amherst cum laude in 1963, Alfred P. Bergner graduated from Harvard Law School in 1966 and received a master’s degree in taxation from New York University Law School in 1967. He then clerked on the United States Tax Court for Chief Judge William Brennen, following which he was in the private practice of law in Washington, DC. It was in Washington that he met his wife, Jane, also a tax lawyer, to whom he was married for thirty-four years before dying of a brain tumor on September 24, 2002, three weeks before his sixtieth birthday and seventeen months after diagnosis of his disease. He was the father of two children, Lauren ‘95 and Justin (Yale ‘98). He was active in fundraising for Amherst and was a past president of the Washington, DC, chapter of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, where he endowed a perpetual scholarship. He was a kind and gentle person with a wry sense of humor, high intellect, and outstanding judgment.
Justin Bergner’s remarks: “My dad lived a wonderful life that was spectacular for its simplicity. His hobbies were simple; he liked to read the newspaper, watch ‘Seinfield’ and go running. He liked things to break around the house so that he could obsess over how to fix them. I cannot think of many things that made my dad happier than a good bargain. It never made sense to me why he pinched pennies, but in the end, it was very endearing and led to many a good laugh.
“As smart and athletic as my dad was, he was always looking for his kids to overtake him. My dad prided himself on being in good shape, and by God he was. And he’d do sit-ups every day into his fifties.
“As I look back on my father’s life, I realize that he died a very content man. He was really able to simplify life to its core elements: he focused on being a good spouse and son; having a successful career; and treating other people kindly. And he succeeded in all three areas. He learned to find joy in the everyday responsibilities in life, such as cooking, home improvement, and personal financial management. In a day and age when many people make life more complicated than it needs to be, my dad lived a simple life and ended up very happy. In doing so, he didn’t transform the world, but he made it a much better place for those around him.”