Obituary: Deborah Bergh, 1940-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Deborah Bergh, 1940-2024

Shelburne woman was a fierce advocate for reproductive rights and an engaged citizen who modeled lifelong learning and devoted volunteering

Published February 22, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated February 22, 2024 at 3:21 p.m.


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Deborah Bergh - COURTESY
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  • Deborah Bergh

Debby Bergh was a gift to those who knew her. For her children, she nourished deeply felt unconditional love, friendship, support and guidance, adventure and travel, and love of nature and sports, and she gracefully modeled being a lifelong learner and devoted volunteer. Colleagues share that she listened thoughtfully, offered wise counsel, provided important direction, was inclusive in her process, exemplified being of service, and “had a wry smile and great eye contact.” To friends and extended family, she was a connector, a mentor, an avid walking partner, a literary enthusiast and book club buddy, a lover of live music and dance, a fierce advocate for reproductive rights, and an engaged Vermont citizen. Debby passed away on February 13, 2024. She is profoundly missed.

Born in 1940 to Josephine Schlotman Mitchell and W. Ledyard Mitchell Jr. and cherished by her grandmother Stella Schlotman, Debby graduated from Smith College and moved to Cambridge, Mass., where she met Peter Bergh. Their marriage in 1964 took them first to Denmark and then Vermont in 1966, where Debby devoted her early married years to her children, community service and life at their home, Mud Hollow. She embraced Vermont life: birdathons, cookie concoctions, Thanksgiving feasts, gardening, tennis groups, keeping track of the endless critters around the house, and tirelessly shuttling kids and friends around Chittenden County.

After raising her children, Debby returned to work, establishing herself as a highly respected and valued consultant and coach. As she put it, she found her purpose: “to help individuals and organizations define and create their futures.” She brought her curiosity, commitment and focus to numerous critical and highly regarded board leadership positions as well, serving Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Wake Robin in Shelburne, the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, Audubon Vermont, the Visiting Nurse Association and many others.

She continues to be adored by her daughter, Allison Bergh; her son, Graham Bergh, and his partner, Elizabeth Bowers; and her grandson, Tabor Bergh. She was predeceased by her siblings Sara Bass and Richard Mitchell. She is survived by her siblings Mary Mitchell and Trip Mitchell; Trip’s wife, Veda Travis; Dick’s wife, Maureen Hayes-Mitchell; her nieces and nephews, Gay von Henneberg Gillies (and her husband, David), Antea Middleton (and her husband, Andrew), Sara Lee (and her husband, Brenton McQueen), Patrick Randak (and his wife, Anna), John Randak (and his partner, Sue Gritzner), Susan Randak, Zach Mitchell, and Eli Mitchell; and her great-nephews and -nieces Merrick Gilles (and his fiancée, Manya Gordon), Sophia Gilles, Ford and West Middleton, Eris Randak, and Mesa and Max Gritzner-Randak.

There will be a memorial at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne on March 30, 2 p.m.

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