Berlin, Keith P.
May 19, 2023, Age 98
RUPERT—Keith P. Berlin, a 98-year-old resident of Rupert, passed away Friday, May 19, 2023, at Pomerelle Place in Burley, with his daughter by his side.
Keith was born in the evening on March 03, 1925, the first of twins at the family homestead in Rupert, Idaho, to Lavinia Paskett Black Berlin and Joseph Edwin Berlin. He joined a large family.
His mother’s first husband died during the flu epidemic in 1919, along with a son. The family at this time consisted of six living children. His mother married Joseph Edward Berlin in 1920. The family consisted of three brothers and three sisters. In the years that followed four more children came to this union. Keith’s mother passed away in 1930, when he and Kathryn were five years old leaving six children still at home. His sister, Leone Black, assumed the responsibilities and care of these children. While Leone was teaching at Pioneer School she met and married Boone Pyle, the contractor in charge of building the school. Boone and Leone had agreed that the family was to stay together and committed their lives to making that happen.
Keith grew up on the homestead and excelled at sports. Basketball was his strong sport. As work took his family to Hermiston, Oregon, Keith, Kathryn and Burt also went to build the ammunition depot for the Military. Their brother, Ted, had passed away from a short illness. It came time for school to resume and Keith returned to Rupert, Idaho, to play basketball, study for graduation and live with the basketball coach. He excelled at basketball and math. After graduation from high school he worked with the construction company until World War II broke out, at which time he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, in September of 1943. After being stationed in California, he later transferred to the Pacific Theatre in Hawaii. After the war ended, he returned to Rupert, in March of 1946.
He attended Idaho State University concentrating on drafting and math and decided to join his brother-in-law and sister in their Pyle Construction business.
Through the years they built many structures, concentrating on government and commercial projects. Some of the things they built were Voris Theater in Jerome, Alfresco Theater in Heyburn, Idaho; next came Roberts High School in Roberts and Terreton High School in Terreton. munition dumps in Hermiston, Oregon and Edgemont, South Dakota, landing strips at Mountain Home Air Force Base, swimming pools in Burley and Rupert (still in use today), and rural electric buildings in Malta and Rupert.
When Boone passed away, Keith started Keith P. Berlin Construction Company and became one of the first licensed construction contractors in Idaho. He continued his company working on mostly state construction projects and building cheese plants in Carey Idaho, Terreton, Idaho, and Jerome, Idaho, eventually slowing down to many buildings and numerous homes in the area.
He met his future wife while in high school in Rupert, Pauline Gisler, and they were married in August of 1948. To this union came his only son, Steven; and daughter, Cynthia. In 1970, Mom and Dad purchased mom’s parents’ home and farm, now in the family for over 100 years. Dad retired from construction in 1976, and pursued his dream of farming (his hobby farm.) We spent a lot of time hunting, fishing, camping and living life. Dad touched a lot of people’s lives, especially young people. He treated them with respect and patience and helped them gain the confidence to succeed at whatever they wanted to do. He loved coaching Steve’s basketball teams. We had a wonderful life with Dad and he taught us all the meaning of discipline, determination and what the definition of stubborn was. He taught us one can do whatever one wants if you try hard enough. His motivation for living was fueled by his passion for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, his work ethic, farming (which he did until 15 years ago), current events of the world, reading and walking. He was a kind, gentle man. He trained his many animals with gentle respect – hand and arm commands – no raised voice.
Keith was preceded in death by his father, who lived for 93 years; and mother; his wife, Pauline, of 64 years, in 2012; and his only son, Steven, in 2013; as well as five brothers and four sisters, including his twin sister, Kathryn Erickson, who passed in 2020.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia Berlin and Robert W. Lantz; his awesome granddaughter, Neelie Berlin ( Justin Willis); his name-sake fantastic grandson, Ryan Berlin; his daughter-in-law, Susan Berlin; and a brother, J. Burton Berlin (100 years of age) of Twin Falls, Idaho.
He is also survived by his awesome “GREATS,” his five great-grandchildren. They were the light of his late life: Sophie Berlin, Chloe Berlin, Gage Berlin, Conner Willis and Kolbie Willis; as well as numerous nieces and nephews and he loved them dearly. The Erickson children; the Daniel Edward Black family children; and the Gisler nieces and nephews. They were always his family and he treasured them.
In his years since his wife and son passed he has had some very special people in his life. He treasured Monica Jones, Jason and Brittney Brunk, Chris Roth, Margarita, Colleen and Stacy.
The family thanks Doctor Jeffrey Swenson for his ten years of care and friendship; and residents and staff at Pomerelle Place who helped make his last seven-month adventure enjoyable. He will always be remembered as the “Top Tater” there.
A heartfelt thank you to my husband, Bob Lantz, for his relationship with my father, his patience with me.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, located at 802 F St., in Rupert, with the Rev. Father Camilo Garcia as celebrant. Burial will follow at Rupert Cemetery. Military rites will be provided by the Mini-Cassia Veterans Group.
Family and friends will be received from 5 until 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley.
In lieu of flowers please send your donations to St. Nicholas Catholic School, P. O. Box 26, Rupert, Idaho 83350.
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