William M.B. Berger, founder of The Berger Funds, Denver, died June 29 at the age of 73 of congestive heart failure.
Mr. Berger, a fifth-generation money manager, had retired in 1994, after serving as the mutual fund company's president for 20 years.
His great-grandfather, William Bart Berger, established what eventually became Colorado National Bank of Denver in 1862. William M.B. joined the bank in 1950, managing $100 million in equities and adding bond management in 1956.
Mr. Berger founded the Centennial Fund, a tax-free exchange fund, in 1960 and founded the Gryphon Fund, one of the first "performance" mutual funds, in 1963. The Berger 100 and 101 Funds followed in 1974.
Mr. Berger was instrumental in making Denver a mutual fund hub by persuading Financial Programs (now INVESCO) to locate there in 1963. He merged his own company, then Centennial Management Co., with the Founders Funds in 1966.
Mr. Berger's background was colorful. His collegiate career at Yale University was interrupted by a stint as an ambulance driver for the British Army in Italy and Yugoslavia during World War II. He returned to Yale to complete a B.A. in English and later earned a graduate certificate from the American Institute of Banking.
Mr. Berger was involved with many charities in Colorado, but may be best known for his generous support of the Denver Art Museum.
Contributions may be made to the Berger Collection Educational Trust at the museum.