FLORENCE, Wis. - Barbara Jean Bergeron (Erickson), 84, ascended to heaven on Sunday, May 19, 2013, following a brief illness.
She was born on June 24, 1928, in Iron Mountain, and grew up in Florence. A natural beauty, Barbara was crowned Miss Upper Peninsula in the 1940s and went on to compete in the Miss Michigan pageant. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing.
Barbara married Donald Bergeron in the summer of 1952, and they settled in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where they raised their family. In addition to raising four strong, independent children, Barbara was an avid champion for women's rights and a role model for using one's talent and energy to positively shape one's community.
A master musician, Barbara played the piano, pipe organ, trumpet, and classical guitar. She spent more than 25 years as the organist and choir director at various local churches, including St. Hugo of the Hills (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), St. Thomas Moore (Troy, Mich.) and St. Gabriel (Detroit, Mich.).
She was committed to bringing the joy of music to those whose circumstances did not provide meaningful exposure to the arts and spent more than eight years commuting to St. Gabriel Catholic Church in the inner city of Detroit. At St. Gabriel, she created and led a children's choir, an adult choir, and produced a full-length Cabaret-style production annually - all on a volunteer basis.
Her passion for music, her generosity in sharing it with others, and her unwavering belief that everyone should be given a chance to pursue their dreams would come to define Barbara after her children were grown and left home. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Barbara was a member of the American Guild of Organists, Orchard Lake Country Club and the Village Women's Club. After retiring, Barb and Don spent summers in Michigan and winters at their home in Estero, Fla.
She is survived by her loving husband of 60 years, Dr. Donald D. Bergeron; four children, Jeffrey D. Bergeron, Mary Beth Bergeron, Patricia A. Bergeron-Livingston, and Shannon K. Bergeron; one sister, Margaret Noel; one daughter-in-law, Stephanie W. Bergeron; one son-in-law, David M. Livingston; three grandchildren, Michael D. Bergeron, Kathryn A. Bergeron, and A. Grace Livingston; various members of her extended family and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Margaret J. Erickson; and one brother, Calvin Erickson.
Visitation was held Wednesday, May 22, at A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward Avenue, Royal Oak, MI.
Funeral services will be today at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.
Additional visitation will be held on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon at the Jacobs-Lundholm Funeral Home in Florence, Wis.
The funeral service will follow at noon Saturday at the funeral home in Florence.
Burial will be at St. Mary Cemetery in Commonwealth, Wis.
Memorial tributes for Barbara can be made to the Rose Hill Foundation, 5130 Rose Hill Blvd., Holly, MI 48442.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Barbara or leave a condolence to her family online at JacobsFuneralHomes.com.
The family has chosen the Jacobs-Lundholm Funeral Home of Florence to honor Barbara's legacy of life.