Milton van den Berg, 83, executive at McCormick

May 27, 2001|By Heather Dewar | Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF

Milton van den Berg, a lifelong Baltimorean and a retired executive for two local businesses -- National Brewing Co. and McCormick & Co. Inc. -- died Wednesday of heart failure at Blakehurst Life Care Community in Towson. He was 83.

A star lacrosse player as a young man in the 1930s, Mr. van den Berg was a decorated World War II combat veteran, the captain of a rifle company in the Army's 26th Infantry Division.

During the Battle of the Bulge, a shell exploded over his head with such force that his watch was driven into his arm, said retired advertising executive Dan Loden, a friend for more than 40 years.

Mr. van den Berg spent 18 months in hospitals in London and Washington. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

"Even though the arm never straightened, he still was able to play golf," Mr. Loden said. "He was a natural athlete."

Born in Baltimore, Mr. van den Berg graduated with honors from City College in 1935. He was a varsity lacrosse player on the school's state champion team in 1933 and its national champion team in 1935 and was a lacrosse All-American in 1934 and 1935, Mr. Loden said.

Mr. van den Berg took night classes in chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University while working as a bookkeeper. He attended the University of Maryland on a lacrosse scholarship, graduating with honors in chemistry in 1942.

After serving in the Army from 1942 to 1946, Mr. van den Berg worked as a laboratory assistant and salesman for two small companies. He worked for the now-defunct National Brewing Co. from 1952 to 1961, becoming an assistant vice president.

He joined McCormick in 1962, served as a member of the board of directors and was vice president for marketing and strategy planning when he retired in 1979.

After retiring, Mr. van den Berg taught marketing at Loyola College School of Business from 1981 to 1987.

Mr. van den Berg and his wife, the former Katharine Hartzell of Baltimore, were married for 59 years and lived in Homeland before moving to Towson last year.

Mr. van den Berg was active in more than a dozen community groups between the 1950s and the 1990s. He was a former trustee of Gilman School, a volunteer fund-raiser for the University of Maryland Alumni Association and a former group chairman of the United Way. He was active with the American Cancer Society until 1999, Mr. Loden said.

A devoted golfer, he was a member of the Baltimore Country Club, the Seaview Country Club and the Country Club of Maryland.

A private funeral service was held yesterday.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Robert W. van den Berg of Timonium and James M. van den Berg of Richmond, Va.; a daughter, Katharine M. Malone of Timonium; and five grandchildren.

Correction

A. Dorothea S. Rettew: In an obituary in yesterday's editions for A. Dorothea S. Rettew, the name of her husband was misspelled. It is Thomas Knefely Rettew.

The Sun regrets the error.

Elsewhere

Alberto Korda, 72, the photographer whose images helped make Ernesto "Che" Guevara a guerrilla symbol, died Friday in Paris of a heart attack, according to relatives in Havana. Mr. Korda, whose real last names were Diaz Gutierrez, had worked with the newspaper Revolucion.

Jacques-Louis Lions, 73, a French mathematician known for work that enabled breakthroughs in fields from the environment to aerospace, died May 17. Mr. Lions was president of the French Academy of Sciences and a former president of the National Center of Space Studies.

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