Bergkamp, Joseph



July 3, 2015

Joe Bergkamp died in Puerto Rico on July 3, 2015. He was 88. Joe was born in southeastern Kansas and had been a priest for the Diocese of Wichita, serving for many years as a missionary in Venezuela. It was there he developed his deep love for the poor.

Joe left the priesthood, married, and returned to Kansas where he and his wife, Carmen Nery, became friends with Bob Hentzen and Jerry Tolle, another of Unbound’s founders. When Joe and Nery later moved to Puerto Rico, they took on the task of developing an Unbound sponsor base on the island.

Over the years more than 14,000 people in Puerto Rico have joined Unbound’s community of sponsors, thanks mainly to the efforts of Joe and Nery, who shared the message of Unbound at churches throughout the territory. Nery preceded her husband in death several years ago, and Joe continued to serve as a gentle goodwill ambassador for Unbound during his final years.

Joe was a member of CORPUS and he attended our first National Conference in Washington in 1988