Retiree Spotlight

Remembering Irving Berger

Irving Berger, a Pfizer employee for more than 25 years, passed away in November. In a letter notifying the Retiree Communications team of his father’s death, Michael Berger wrote about his father’s contributions to Pfizer. We thought it only fitting to remember Irving Berger in a Retiree Spotlight.

Irving Berger

In January 1959, Irving Berger made the cover of Pfizer’s employee magazine The Pfizer Scene, as a member of an “unbeatable sales team.” That’s not a surprising accomplishment when you consider Irving’s long career at Pfizer.

After serving in the Army Air Corp in Asia during World War II, Irving pursued a B.S. in Pharmacy and a M.S. in Science Education from New York University before joining Pfizer in 1952. He started as a professional service representative, and soon moved up to become a training supervisor responsible for training new medical representatives in the New York area. He later spent four years in the Family Products department selling Pfizer consumer products to major U.S. chain stores and drug wholesalers, followed by an assignment as the industrial marketing manager for Pfizer industrial accounts.

Between 1965 and 1971, Irving worked in government and military sales as sales manager for Pfizer Diagnostics U.S.A., and planned as many as 60 regional and state professional meetings a year.

He and his wife Shirley moved to Israel in 1971, where he supervised Pfizer medical representatives and promoted Pfizer products for several years before his retirement.

Irving Berger (far right) on the cover of The Pfizer Scene in 1959

“My dad was always proud of his association with Pfizer, and he remained as loyal after retirement as he was as an employee,” said his son Michael, an attorney in Oakland, California. Irving made a point to visit Pfizer headquarters, whenever he was in New York City.

Irving also remained quite active. He kept up with developments in the pharmaceutical world and, in the 1980s, he worked as a Vista volunteer, advising other seniors about possible drug interactions and other issues of importance.

“He loved to travel all his life, and traveled as much as he could in retirement,” remembered Michael. “He was a voracious reader and had a wide range of interests including history, politics and the sciences.”

In fact, Irving audited courses at University of California-Berkeley in a variety of fields, such as astronomy and films.

“He was totally devoted to his family, and was particularly proud of each of his six grandchildren. Shortly before he died he became a great-grandfather,” said his son.

Irving Berger passed away on November 17, 2009, just a few days shy of his 89th birthday, and 50 years after his moment in the spotlight as a member of an unbeatable Pfizer sales team.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley; sister, Clara Chawkins; two sons, Michael and Jonathan; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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