Betty Berg1

F, #23386, b. 15 June 1933, d. 12 January 2001
Father*Arthur Berg1 b. 30 Mar 1903, d. 28 Sep 1993
Mother*Hazel E. Bezanson1 b. 2 Sep 1904, d. 2 Jan 1999


Rodney E. Leonard
Relationship4th great-granddaughter of Jean George Bezanson
     Betty Berg was also known as Elizabeth Karin Berg.1 She was born on 15 June 1933 at Morris, Minnesota.2,3 She married Rodney E. Leonard at Bethesda, Maryland.1,3 Betty Berg was a reporter at The Washington Post.3 She was an editor Congressional Index Service (CIS) in Washington, District of Columbia, in 1978.3 She died on 12 January 2001 at age 67.3 She was buried on 20 January 2001 in the family plot, Isle, Minnesota.3

     Obituary from The Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 14 January 2001:
Betty Berg Leonard, 67, of Wahkon, MN, died here today Jan. 12, 2001 of complications due to breast cancer.

She was the first woman to serve as editor of the University of Minnesota Daily in peacetime, elected to the position in the 1954-55 term, her senior year at the University School of Journalism. Mrs. Leonard worked as a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune following graduation, and for the Washington Post after moving to Washington, D.C., when her husband, Rodney E. Leonard, was appointed press secretary in 1961 to Orville L. Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture in President John F. Kennedy's cabinet. She and her husband were founding members of St. Mark's Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD. Mrs. Leonard retired from journalism in 1963 to devote herself full-time to raising her family. Twin daughters, Karin and Jane, were born in 1957, and a son, John was born in 1964. She became an editor in 1978 for the Congressional Index Service (CIS), a company in Washington, D.C., that pioneered the application of computer electronics to create a complete index of Congressional hearings, providing access for the first time to legislative hearing records for federal agencies, the Library of Congress, university libraries, lawyers and lobbyists, and political scholars. Mrs. Leonard specialized in reporting, abstracting and editing reports on hearings on activities and budgets of the Defense Department. In 1998 Mrs Leonard retired from CIS. She and her husband returned in October of that year to Minnesota to live on the family farm pioneered by her paternal grandparents, Nils and Karin Berg near Wahkon on Lake Mille Lacs. The Leonards joined the Wahkon Presbyterian Church of which her maternal grandparents, Florence and Calvin Bezanson, had been founding members in 1907. She and her husband helped lead a building program in 2000 for a new church structure that incorporates the original sanctuary in the new Wahkon church. Mrs. Leonard, a Presbyterian Elder, was elected in 2000 as clerk of the session of the Wahkon church. She was active in the work of the women of the church, leading Bible study programs. Mrs. Leonard was born June 15, 1933, in Morris, MN. She attended grade school in Minot, ND, and was graduated from St. Louis Park High School in 1951.

Mrs. Leonard was preceded in death by her parents, Arthur and Hazel Berg.

She is survived by a brother, Charles Berg, and his wife, Carol, in Fargo, ND; her husband, Rodney; three children: John Leonard and a daughter-in-law, Lucia Guidice, of Belmont, MA; Jane Leonard and a daughter-in-law, Lori Lippert, of St. Paul; and Karin Sonneman and a son-in-law, Karl Sonneman and three grandhildren: James Sonneman, Thomas Sonneman and Jane Sonneman, all of Winona, MN.

Funeral services will be held 11 AM, Saturday, January 20, in the Wahkon Presbyterian Church. Burial will be held by the family in private services at the family plot in the Isle, MN cemetery.3

Census Summary


Census, Residence

Census1940Betty Berg appeared on the census of 1940 in the household of Arthur Berg and Hazel E. Bezanson at 503 West 7th Street, Darnen, Minnesota.4
Last Edited14 May 2015


  1. [S1] Dorothy Evans, Bezansons from Nova Scotia, 193.
  2. [S1] Dorothy Evans, Bezansons from Nova Scotia, 193, where the birth date is "1933."
  3. [S6] Betty Berg Leonard Obituary, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minnesota), 14 January 2001.
  4. [S4] 1940 U.S. Federal Census; Morris, Stevens, Minnesota; Roll: T627_1962; ED: 75-14A; Page: 11A; Lines: 18-21.