Church members remember the life of Pastor David Berkheimer

For 32 years (1979-2011) David Berkheimer preached the word of God to the members of Community Church in Orange.

Cancer plagued him the final year of his long life, and he passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 77.

Daniel Rose took over as Senior Pastor of Community Church after Berkheimer retired. He was baptized by Berkheimer, and considers the late pastor to be his spiritual father.

"I'm a different person today because of him," Rose said. "He just brought out the best in people."

Berkheimer was born in Michigan and moved to Orange in 1979.
Rose described him as a caring man and a gifted speaker who touched the lives of almost everybody in the Orange community at one time or another.
"David was probably the best teaching preacher I ever heard," said David Wagner, the business administrator at Community Church.

"He was a very unique individual, he was so down to earth and so loving and so warm, he was just so special, I've never met anybody like him," said Jerri Rogers, the church's administrative assistant who was hired by Berkheimer in 1980.

Rose says Berkheimer also stayed extremely active, running 3 1/2 miles a day until just a few years ago. He also said Berkheimer had quite the competitive spirit.
"If you went fishing with him and caught more fish than he did... he would turn the boat to where he was on the side where the fish were biting," joked Rose.

Although Berkheimer will never again deliver a sermon to the hundreds who gather on Sundays, his legacy will always remain.

"We can all kind of picture him dancing in Heaven," said Rogers.

Berkheimer is survived by his wife Valda as well as 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren.

Rose says Berkheimer specifically stated he did not want a funeral service following his passing.

In the last year of his life, Berkheimer spent his life savings opening a bible school for young adults in Jasper. It's expected to open this fall.



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