Virginia M.'s Story

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Virginia Marjorie (LaFlam) Bergmann, wife of the late Paul Bergmann, died in the loving care of her family, close friends, and the staff of the Kaplan Family Hospice House on Wednesday, April 5.
Ginny was born in Gloucester on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1934, to Leon M. LaFlam and Mary C. (McDonald) LaFlam. She was a longtime resident of 396 Essex Ave., living in a historic home that she loved. She moved to Rockport to live with her daughter and caregiver, Janine and her husband, Mike, a few years ago.
She received her elementary school education on the South Shore, attending schools in East Milton, North Weymouth, and Wollaston. She attended North Quincy High School.
Ginny returned to Gloucester with her family as a teenager, where she graduated from Gloucester High School with the Class of 1952.
She went on to attend the Addison Gilbert School of Nursing, where she was elected class president by her peers. She was very proud of that.
Upon her graduation, she worked as a staff nurse for Addison Gilbert Hospital for 22 years, which she loved doing.
Virginia was an advocate for the citizens of Gloucester in many capacities throughout her life, including as an eight-year board member of the State Department of Mental Health, being involved in children’s programs and NUVA.
She also worked for the Gloucester YMCA as a board member for several years, and was voted board president. She was the first woman to hold that position, a milestone she was very proud of.
Ginny was the founding director and vice president of the Friends of the Gloucester Council on Aging.
She continued her love of making a difference all of her life, and ran for an at-large City Council position and also as a Ward 5 candidate. Although she was defeated, she continued to serve the city as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for 30 years. She accepted the position of vice chairperson, and served in that capacity until she retired. She was recently recognized by former Mayor Carolyn Kirk on behalf of the city, and by Sen. Bruce Tarr on behalf of the state.
Virginia and her late husband, Paul, along with the support of a few neighbors and friends, established the non-profit Friends of Beechbrook group, dedicated to the mission of preventing the development of a 44-unit housing complex adjacent to the cemetery. They were successful in stopping it.
Over the past 25 years, the city-owned cemetery and the traffic circle at Beechbrook was redesigned, landscaped and planted with funds from the Friends of Beechbrook.
It was with great pride that the city of Gloucester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with the help of Rep. Tony Verga and Sen. Bruce Tarr that the traffic circle at the entrance was renamed and dedicated to Paul Bergmann, who had taken care of that area for years.
Ginny and Paul enjoyed their family and friends and would often have large holiday and summer gatherings at their home in West Gloucester. Her Christmas Eve parties were legendary, and many who attended had their first sauerkraut balls.
Ginny’s personality was larger than life -- feisty, funny, determined, dedicated, fearless. All who knew and loved her will miss her greatly.
She was a die-hard, lifelong Patriots fan and she never missed a game.
Virginia took up tennis and enjoyed the friends she made at the Tennis Club of Manchester (now the Manchester Athletic Club), and at the Bass Rocks Golf Club in East Gloucester. She loved people and loved to laugh, and there didn’t always have to be something funny to set her off.
Besides her kids and grandkids, Ginny’s first love was her Red Mustang convertible, and she could often be seen toodling around the city in it. She referred to it as her “signature piece” and she had her initials engraved on the doors.
She also loved her dogs, miniature Schnauzers, Strudel and Maggie, and Kricket, who was her traveling partner.
Ginny is survived by her daughters, Donna, wife of Philip Corey; Janine, wife of Michael Boucher; son, Michael Cusumano; and step-children, Paul J., Frank W., and Dorothee Bergmann.
She was predeceased by her children, Patty Cusumano in 1979, and Dominic (Nicky) Cusumano in 2000; her sister, Joyce Tan; and brother-in-law, Dr. Ben Tan.
Other survivors include Virginia’s adored grandchildren, Philip Corey, and his wife, Sylvie; Heather Corey and her husband, Eliot Johnston; Courtney Corey; twins, Kristen Cusumano, Ryan Cusumano; Bruce Beck III, and his wife, Astrid; Shane Beck, and his wife, Keyontie; Katharine Boucher and Thomas Boucher. She is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren; West Coast nieces and nephews, Sonny, Jeannette, Jackie and Karen Tan; and many friends, including Lauri Burke and Dianne Eason, who all stayed with her to the end.
Visiting hours will be held on Friday, April 7, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington Street. Funeral services will begin from the funeral home at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, April 8, with a Mass being celebrated at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on Prospect Street, at 12:30 p.m. Burial will follow in Beechbrook Cemetery, followed by a collation downstairs in Fellowship Hall at the West Gloucester Trinitarian Congregational Church, 488 Essex Ave.
One of the things Ginny had loved to do was play Mrs. Santa Claus at the Shriner’s during Christmastime. As a result, the family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in Ginny’s name to Shriner’s Hospital for Children. Mail checks to Development Office for Children, Boston, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114.
For online condolences, please visit www.greelyfuneralhome.com.
Published on  April 6, 2017
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