Charles Daniel ‘Dan’ Bergfeld

Charles Daniel Bergfeld – “Dan”

Dan BergfeldRemembrances

The Whiffs of ’65 remember: Be it good genes, good habits, or good luck, the ’65 Whiffs have been fortunate to remain intact since we lost Bob Swartz the year after we graduated. We’ve had some scares (we nearly lost Pruett some years back), but all in all we’ve remained a healthy bunch. So the passing in September of our beloved friend and second tenor Dan Bergfeld hit us especially hard. It signaled our mortality; it certainly will change our sound and our group dynamics next time we reunite; but most of all it meant losing one of the finest men we’ll ever know. Bergie spoke softly but listened intently. As one old Whiff said about him, “A room was always made brighter when Dan entered.” Another called him “… the kindest, most gentle man I ever knew.” He also was a skilled sculptor, a fierce tennis player, and a helluva musician and singer. If there wasn’t enough to love about him, he also brought into our lives the beauty and joy of Holly Adams, his wife for the last decade. Jon Ingham summed up our thoughts in a recent email: “Let us be reminded to treasure the friendships that we still have and make a greater effort to keep them up…” RIP, Bergie.

Duncan Bremer writes: I knew Dan through all the years at NCCS and through college. You may not know this, but I was his best friend. But then so were all of his NCCS classmates.

When we were about 9 or 10 his family took me on my first ski vacation, to Stowe, Vermont. We stayed at the Von Trapp Family Lodge. On New Years Eve, as midnight approached, people disappeared off to a chapel dimly lit with candles. When we discovered what was going on, we snuck in the back. It was a high mass, complete with incense. Dan, coming from his Quaker family background said he was completely blown away. For my part, I had never heard such heavenly singing.

Singing was always part of Dan: In fifth grade we sacrificed recesses to play and sing “Down in the Valley” with our little string band. The summer after fifth grade, Dan and I, with Ted Bayne, spent two weeks working on a farm in Virginia, shoveling tons of manure and digging out an old well. But evenings were spent learning new country folk songs from our hosts who played mandolin, banjo, fiddle and guitar. That year, Dan got his adolescent growth spurt before the rest of us boys and for one glorious year he was the tallest among us. Obviously that didn’t last. But he neither gloated above us nor complained when surpassed. His sweet charm just continued.

Later, for fun, in our “Little House” where nobody had to listen, four of us would gather to work out four-part harmony from the Yale Song Book. Little did we imagine there was a future Whiffenpoof among us.

Although Dan always excelled at sports, he never bragged or flouted it. Instead, he was kind and encouraging. For instance, Dan and Harry Loomis would ski swiftly though a mogul field as I took tumble after tumble behind. Even so, he never had a harsh word about my lack of skill or snow-encrusted parka. And they waited patiently for me to join them at the bottom of the run. Likewise, in later years as Harry’s mental illness set in, Dan stood out for his steadfast kindness and generosity to Harry.

I will never forget Dan’s kind smiling eyes and optimistic face breaking into a grin. It seems he just couldn’t help himself enjoying whoever he was with. It was a great honor to know him. May we all be with him again where he receives his reward in the presence of God himself.


Dan Bergfeld (77) died at home peacefully in Vero Beach on September 25th after a long battle with cancer that he met with faith and courage.  The genuine smile that lit up his face reflected his lifelong gratitude for a good life, well lived, with people he loved and who loved him.   Dan will be remembered for his warmth, his welcoming smile and white fluffy hair, his kindness and thoughtfulness for others, his wit, and his embodiment of love through the language of music.

Born in Bronxville NY, he lived most of his life in Stamford and New Canaan Ct, until he and his wife, Holly, moved to Vero Beach fulltime in 2018.  He was educated at New Canaan Country School, Milton Academy, and received a BA from Yale College in 1965, where he was a proud T1 with the Whiffenpoofs.  He later received his MBA from the Stephens Institute of Technology.

His career in NYC was in management consulting and operations analysis for NYC government during Mayor Lindsey’s administration.  But his real life passion was music, and his tenor voice gifted quartets, choral groups, Whiffalumni benefit concerts, and church choirs in NYC, CT and FL.  He relished concert tours with the Greenwich Choral Society and the Yale Alumni Chorus in Russia, China, Cuba, Bulgaria, France, Italy and Greece. If not singing, Dan could be found on a tennis court in men’s and mixed doubles.  Or in the workshop at Silvermine Arts Center (New Canaan CT) where, as a juried member, he’d create large sculptures to move in the wind, as evidence of the invisible Great Spirit.  Raised in the Quaker tradition, he has been a member of the First Presbyterian Church and choir (New Canaan) for much of his adult life, but he drew his faith from many traditions, particularly the Lakota Sioux: “Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.  So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.”

He is survived by his wife, Holly Adams, the love of his life; step-children Lisa (Pope) Ward, Andrew Regier, and Abby Regier (Burton Fletcher) and grandsons Tucker, Chris, Briley and William; brother-in-law John Adams (Melissa), sisters Lisa Bergfeld Soleau and Kristin Bergfeld, and nephews Jason and Tyler Soleau.   He was pre-deceased by his mother, Tina Mansfield, his father Albert Bergfeld, and his stepfather Walter Mansfield.

Contributions in his name may be made to a musical organization of your choice, or to his favorites:  Greenwich Choral Society (Greenwich CT), Vero Beach Choral Society (FL), Sea Oaks Chorus (FL).

Celebrations of Life will be held Saturday, November 21 at 10:00 am at the First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach (masks required) and Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 11:00am at the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan.  A full obituary available at