Tears and tributes for Terry

By on August 31, 2016

Revitalized Chapel Gate Park dedicated to its late champion

Park board members, on the boardwalk, were pleased with the dediation ceremony. Standing (from left) are Darryl Eberly, Dan Gruke, Mark Stoner, and Joy Good.

Park board members, on the boardwalk, were pleased with the dediation ceremony. Standing (from left) are Darryl Eberly, Dan Gruke, Mark Stoner, and Joy Good.

A newly rehabilitated West Cocalico park was dedicated Aug. 24 to the memory of a man who played a major role advancing recreation in the municipality.

More than 80 people, including state dignitaries, township supervisors, family members, friends and neighbors of the late Terry Bergman, a 20-plus year West Cocalico Park Board member, attended the dedication of Chapel Gate Park. It is clearly a most unique park in the Cocalico area with its raised boardwalk perimeter surrounding wetlands.

The walking trail was a dream of Bergman’s which he did not live to see; he passed in July 2015. A large rock in front of the flag pole displays a plaque with his name.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mindy Fee read from a citation originally read in the state Senate chamber:

“As a beloved family member, dedicated worker, and vowed community steward, Mr. Bergman gave his heart and his time to enhance the quality of life of his family and his community.”

State Sen. Ryan Aument and Sally Bergman listen as state Rep. Mindy Fee shares her thoughts on the late Terry Bergman. Fee and Aument both credited Bergman with helping them get their starts in public life.

State Sen. Ryan Aument and Sally Bergman listen as state Rep. Mindy Fee shares her thoughts on the late Terry Bergman. Fee and Aument both credited Bergman with helping them get their starts in public life.

With tears, Fee said Bergman was “one of the real-deals” as she hugged his widow Sally Bergman.

Terry Bergman was a 1971 Cocalico High School graduate and a former sheriff of Lancaster County. He and Sally were married for 34 years.

“I’m doing what I have to do, thanks to all these people,” said Sally Bergman. “It’s been over a year and the waves don’t hit me like they did; I can control them more, but every day is emotional.

“He would have been very proud. He was very dedicated to the parks board; he was very passionate about this walking trail. Unfortunately, he never got to see it. What a loss to everyone.”

State Sen. Ryan Aument wondered what he could say about a “giant of a man.”

“I would not be where I am today, having the privilege of serving in the state senate, if it weren’t for Terry, his encouragement and support of me,” said Aument. “There were folks early on, when I was coming up through the ranks after getting out of the military that took an interest in me — Craig Ebersole is one, Terry is another.”

Aument took photos of the plaque with his phone.

“When he retired, he came back to a community that loved him, that respected him, with his integrity intact and his character never questioned,” said Aument. “That’s a pretty incredible thing to say about someone and unfortunately there’s far too few in elected office we can say that about today.”

Bergman’s death was unexpected.

“He had a heart attack in a hotel in Pittsburgh,” said his widow. “We were on vacation and he died on the floor, but he lived a wonderful life.”

Fee related to Aument’s comments.

“When I first ran for office, I’m sure most of us here have a personal story with Terry because he was a true public servant and a man of honor,” said Fee. “I didn’t know a whole lot of running for office. My late husband, who he knew very well, was more the public servant in the family. I lost my husband and shortly afterwards, I ran and Terry helped me like nobody else. His heart was incredible.”

Ebersole was a friend of Bergman’s since sixth grade and is a former East Cocalico supervisor.

“Due to his (Terry) urging, and his taking so many of my phone calls, we created a park and rec board in East Cocalico, but only after the ‘good sheriff’ said: ‘You all should really do this’,” said Ebersole.

“We thank Terry for that.”

Mark Stoner, chairman of the parks board, worked with Bergman on the five-year project.

“This has taken a long time,” said Stoner of the nearly $250,000 project. “We got some funding from DCNR (Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources), Sunoco, and the Fritztown Fire Company.

“We started looking after seeing how much the walking trail was used at the Schoeneck Park. Terry would remind us, pretty much every meeting, how much that was used.”

Stoner also thanked Scott Allen and his team of neighborhood kids who helped in planting and mulching.

“Terry would be very proud if he knew kids helped with that,” said Stoner.

Jeff Hartranft played an untitled piece on the trombone while Justin Marderness, a Cocalico High School 2015 graduate, raised the flag at the conclusion of the ceremony.

“Me and Terry were really close, he was a mentor, grandfather figure in my life,” said Marderness. “And he was just a great man.”

Michele Walter Fry welcomes your comments at michelewalterfry@gmail.com.

One Comment

  1. Jeanne Jones

    September 2, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Michele: Thank You for a well-written article about Terry and the walking trail dedicated
    in his honor and name at the Reinholds Park. Many of his classmates, including me, have
    been impacted in so many positive ways while Terry lived in the Cocalico Valley until his
    very unexpected death during a sheriffs’ conference in Pittsburgh. He will always be well
    loved and missed by his family members and his Cocalico Class of 1971 classmates.

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