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MARION (FINN) BERGIN

Posted by Natalie Handy

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ST. ALBANS — St. Albans native Marion (Finn) Bergin, aged 91, died peacefully Thursday, March 27, at the Notre Dame du Lac Long Term Care and Hospice Center in Worcester, Mass. She was a long-time educator and administrator in the Worcester schools.

Emma Marion Finn was born on April 7, 1922, to James Grover Finn and Marie Anne (Limoges) Finn. Known by her French sobriquet “Fille,” she spent her early childhood on the family farm in St. Albans with younger brothers John and James. When she was nine years old, her mother died and soon after her father was elected Franklin County sheriff and moved the family uptown to Lincoln Avenue, where she witnessed first-hand how he used his office to help the less fortunate, a theme that was to continue throughout her life.

After graduating from UVM in 1944 with a Bachelor of Science degree, Marion left Vermont to work as a lab technician at Boston University Hospital, where she met her husband, Joseph D. Bergin, a surgeon and Worcester native. They settled in Worcester, where their three sons were born. Soon thereafter, Dr. Bergin died in an auto accident, leaving Marion to raise the children alone.

In the ensuing years, Marion focused her considerable energies on raising her family in a close-knit neighborhood shared with her supportive in-laws and anchored by the local parish and grammar school. Throughout, Marion maintained a close connection to her Vermont roots and family. She and her sons spent summers in a rambling cottage on St. Albans Bay with relatives on the Finn side of the family. They also sojourned to Vermont each Christmas to celebrate the holidays at the long-time Finn family home in St. Albans, where her brother John also served as county sheriff for many years.

By 1963, Marion had decided to return to the workforce, first as a volunteer and soon on staff for a preschool program at a Worcester educational center for the developmentally disabled. After completing an intensive teacher training program (during a summer semester at her alma mater UVM), within the next few years she earned certification in Special Education and held various teaching positions in the Worcester public schools. In 1975, Marion was promoted to evaluation team chairperson, developing and monitoring education-support plans for “mainstreaming” special needs students into the regular classroom under Massachusetts’s historic Chapter 766 law. At about this time, Marion earned her Master’s in Education from Worcester State College. In the late 1980s, she retired from the Worcester public schools to pursue her interests, including several trips to Europe. Not long after, she answered a colleague’s call to help establish a learning assistance center at the local community college, serving there as coordinator for almost 10 years before finally retiring at age 79. When asked why she worked until that advanced age, she replied, “It was fun.” A plaque commemorating her dedication to students with disabilities hangs in the center’s audio-visual assistance room.

Along with dedication to family and profession, Marion was active in many civic and cultural organizations. In particular, she was a member of the Worcester County Poetry Association from its inception, hosting many post-reading salons at her home. True to her Vermont political roots, she volunteered on a number of local electoral campaigns and often advocated for the disadvantaged or politically disenfranchised. Known for her energy and intellectual curiosity, her bedside reading table was piled high with volumes on many subjects. Marion was always game for an excursion, an impassioned philosophical discussion, or a tête-à-tête over dinner out. Her many friends ranged from college professors and published poets to younger teacher colleagues, schoolmates from years past, and new and former neighbors. Her interests included playing the baby grand piano in her living room and attending Dave Brubeck jazz concerts.

She is survived by her son Joseph D. Bergin and partner, Theresa McAweeney, son James S. Bergin and wife, Sarah, and son John P. Bergin and wife, Patricia, all of the Boston area. Also, sisters-in-law Betty Ann (Kelley) Finn of St. Albans, and Jane (LeClair) Finn of Lewiston, N.Y.  And many loving nieces and nephews on both Finn and Bergin sides of the family as well as many dear friends. Vermont relatives include cousin Marie Limoges of St. Albans and Michael J. Finn of Rutland. Her brothers, John and James, predeceased her.

Memorial services will be held in Worcester, Mass., on April 4 and 5. For details, see: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/telegram/obituary.aspx?n=marion-bergin&pid=170419297&fhid=20771#sthash.iiyxgzza.dpuf.

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