Barbara Berkovich

PORTLAND – Barbara Berkovich died on Oct. 4, 2022, just days shy of her 91st birthday. She grew up in Haverhill, Mass. and it was in Haverhill that she met Sumner, a young man four years her senior who would become her husband and her best friend for life. Barbara and Sumner were brought together by an exuberant Great Dane named Lori. It was a meeting that continued to define their relationship and the life they had together.

Barbara married Sumner in 1951. She moved with him to Montreal where he would attend his fourth year at McGill University. In the years that followed she worked while he went to medical school and trained to be a doctor. Barbara wanted a family and a college education. Her family began with a black and tan Dachshund named Foofie and a cat named Archie. From Montreal they moved to Boston and then Buffalo, and by the time they left Buffalo they had added three daughters to their family unit. When the three girls were old enough to attend school fulltime, Barbara started taking college courses at Hofstra University. It took her ten years of part-time classes to complete her undergraduate degree and then another year to finish her master’s.

In 1971 Barbara and Sumner realized their dream to return to New England. Maine was the place they chose, and it was in Maine that Barbara found the farmhouse that would be their home for 50 years. The whole kit and caboodle, husband, kids, dogs, cat, plants etc. moved to Maine and there they started anew. In the beginning, Barbara went to work with Sumner helping him with his new medical practice but as the business grew, Barbara turned back to her own interests in education. She started working at Project Mainstream in Cumberland and then at the University of New England. Her three girls were in college or graduate school when she started and completed her doctoral degree in education at Boston University. Barbara took her ideas, her experiences and her education and opened her own business, the Learning Development Clinic where she worked with other professionals to design individualized learning programs for children and adults.

Barbara was a remarkable woman, an educator with her own self determined destiny. She had her own clock, and she was never on time for anything. She ate desert first, and she believed in her husband, her children, and the uniqueness of every individual she encountered. She was always ready to laugh and to share her friendship. She was a master gardener who will forever be with the gardens she meticulously planned around the home she loved in Maine.

A service will be held celebrating her life in the spring or early summer of 2023.

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In her honor, please consider a donation to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland or to: HART in Cumberland, Maine or: become a Master Gardener Volunteer or donate to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Fund

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