Cover photo for Hon. Harold Berger's Obituary
Hon. Harold Berger Profile Photo
Hon. Harold Berger

Hon. Harold Berger

d. August 26, 2023

Philadelphia, PA

The Honorable Harold Berger (6.10.25 - 8.26.2023) was born in Archbald Pennsylvania to Anna Berger (née Raker) and Jonas Berger. The fifth of six Berger children, he attended the University of Pennsylvania at age seventeen for two years before entering the U.S. Army during WWII. Four Berger brothers served in WWII at the same time, Harold was proud to serve, and notably tested V-2 rockets with Wernher von Braun (post surrender to the allies) at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico.

 

After the war, Harold graduated from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering (BSEE) in 1948 where, as a young student, he had changed the vacuum tubes on ENIAC, the first programmable general-purpose electronic digital computer. In 1951 he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (JD) and married his wife of fifty-four years, Renee Margareten. Harold began his law career by founding the law firm of Berger & Stein. He served on the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia from 1971-1972. Judge Berger then joined his brother, David Berger, in the formation of Berger & Montague, P.C. where he served as a senior partner and managing principal. Harold went to the office every day until the 2020 Covid pandemic and played tennis four days a week until he was almost 95 years old.

 

Judge Berger participated in many complex litigation and class action matters, including the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Litigation, serving both on the case management team, and Co-Chair of the national discovery team. He served as liaison counsel in the Three Mile Island Litigation and in the Asbestos School Litigation, the nationwide school asbestos property damage class action.

 

Judge Berger was active in the Philadelphia, Federal, and American Bar Associations, and was the recipient of numerous awards including a Special Service Award of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges. Harold also received the FBA’s National Service Award for distinguished service to the Federal and State Judiciary.

 

Judge Berger served as Chair of the International Conferences on Global Interdependence held at Princeton University. He served as Chair of the Aerospace Law Committees of the American, Federal, and Inter-American Bar Associations, and was elected to the International Academy of Astronautics in Paris.

 

Judge Berger remained active in alumni affairs at the University of Pennsylvania, serving on the Law School's Executive Board of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law and the Biddle Law Library Advisory Board. Harold was also a long-standing member of the Board of Overseers of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

 

Long active in charitable and community organizations, Harold served as a Trustee of The Federation of Jewish Charities of Greater Philadelphia; a Director of the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History; and as a National Director of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in its endeavors to assist refugees and indigent souls of all faiths. In April 2023, Harold was honored by the Jewish Learning Venture (JLV). Harold was a member of the Germantown Jewish Center where he sponsored many programs. 

 

Harold is predeceased by his beloved wife Renee Berger; his sister Rose Berger Fink; and his brothers Ellis, Norman, David, and Joseph. He is survived by two children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild, a sister-in-law, and nieces and nephews.

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