On 7 May, 2022, Berthold August Treiber, God’s faithful servant, went to his heavenly home at age 91, after suffering the effects of a brain tumor. He received the ultimate birthday present!
Bert was lovingly cared for by the phenomenal staff at the Green House, a Porter Hills care facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While at the Green House, Bert also received regular visits from Spectrum Hospice nurses, aides, social workers, and physicians. We are very thankful for how well both teams took care of dad in his last months of life.
Sweet Old Bert (SOB), as he was teasingly called by his mother-in-law, was born on May 07, 1931, in Unionville, Michigan to Jesse Treiber and Bertha Schultz Treiber. He grew up on his family farm with his father, Jessie, step- mother Amanda, and brother Elmo. His mother, Bertha, tragically died after his delivery.
Bert attended Luther Seminary in Watertown, Wisconsin, graduating in 1953. He opted out of becoming a pastor, receiving his second degree from the University of Michigan Business School in 1957. He started his career in banking, at the National Bank of Detroit (NBD) as a commercial loan officer. His love of business and penchant for numbers came together when he joined as a partner of Custom Lighting, a company specializing in the design and fabrication of office lighting systems. Custom Lighting later entered into the office wiring, power, and emergency lighting markets. This side of Custom Electric was spun off into Treiber Electric, when Bert started his own business as a manufacturers’ representative.
Bert married Terry Kuhn in 1959 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan at Saint James Lutheran Church, and proceeded to carve out a faith and fun-filled life—with each other and with their three children, Berthold Christian, Terry William, and Gretchen Elizabeth. Bert and Terry raised their children in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and were very active members at St. James Lutheran Church. In 1980 the Treibers moved to Bloomfield Hills, expanding their ever-growing network of wonderful friends, and shortening Bert’s commute to his business.
In 1966, Bert and Terry purchased a farm near Port Sanillac, Michigan, and named it “The Funny Farm”. In short order, they cleaned out the chicken coop and the barn, and outfitted the farm with a tennis court and a swimming pond. The Funny Farm provided a fun get-away for both kids and adults alike, and some of their more fabled parties were held there.
Lovers of music, they also frequently hosted a Christmas caroling party at their various homes; these parties grew and grew each year, as they accumulated more friends. Bert also regularly participated in the annual musical theatre review, “The Wyndemere Follies” at the Wyndemere Country Club, where he lived in Florida.
When the kids were college-age, Bert and Terry built a home on the 6th fairway at the Farms Course at Birchwood Farms Golf and Country Club, in Harbor Springs, Michigan, where Terry would play the piano and the kids and grandkids played rousing games of kickball well into the evening. The home in Birchwood, like the Funny Farm, was often the scene of a party or event, with singing, food, and—as always—fun. Bert and Terry opened their home to so many - friends of theirs, friends of their kids... their generous hospitality was known by many.
Before and during retirement, Bert was a proponent and supporter of giving back to church, and to the communities he lived in. He served on non profit boards, sang in choirs, built houses, and acted as president of Birchwood Farms G&CC during the design and construction of the third nine and Birchwood G&CC, known as the Woods. He loved his volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, and enjoyed memberships at many different golf clubs, including Huron Shores Country Club in Huron Shores, Michigan, Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Birchwood Farms Country Club in Harbor Springs, Michigan, Wyndemere Country Club in Naples, Florida, Royal Poinciana Golf Club in Naples Florida, and Walloon Country Club in Walloon Lake, Michigan, where he lived with his second wife, Martha.
Anyone who asked Bert what his secret to success was would be told that it was his deep- rooted Christian faith, a faith which he shared with his family. He believed that his sins were forgiven by the sacrificial atonement of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He prayed that you will join him in heaven one day, to live eternally in the presence of the perfect king of love and justice. Some of Bert’s favorite New Testament verses come from the book of John.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
John 3:16-18 NIV
Morally astute and kind to the core, Bert was able to proudly and ironically wear the nickname his mother-in-law lovingly gave him, Sweet Old Bert. Bert’s faith, intellect, and curiosity about the people and world around him made him an amazing friend, husband, father, volunteer, and businessman.
Bert is preceded in death by his mother, Bertha; father, Jessie; wife, Terry; and brother, Elmo. He is survived by his wife of 17 years, Martha, son, Berthold and his wife Kristine (Tipton), son Terry and his wife Janis (Harvey), and daughter Gretchen and her husband, Eric; grandchildren, Lauren Megan, Peter, and Jack Treiber, Wesley, Augie, and Annabelle Treiber, and Caroline and Jackson Girard; and a family full of nephews and nieces.
A memorial service will be held in August 2022 to celebrate Bert’s life. Donations to Habitat for Humanity Naples Florida 11127 Tamiami Trl E Naples, FL 34113 (239) 732-1672.
To send flowers to Bert's family, please visit our floral store.