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Marie-Antoinette (“Manette” or “Marie”) Berns died unexpectedly and peacefully on Sunday, May 1, 2016, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center following a stroke at her home in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. She was 85.
Born on January 29, 1931, in Verdun, France, to Louis Loevenbruck and Elisabeth Ditsch Loevenbruck, Manette moved to the U.S. in 1956 shortly after marrying her American-born husband, Joel, whom she met while he was stationed in Verdun. They briefly resided near Chicago before moving to Stamford, CT, where together they lived, worked, and raised three children, until moving to West Lebanon, NH, in 2014.
As a young woman in France, Manette taught French to the children of U.S. Army personnel stationed near Verdun, France. She also participated in the performing arts for military personnel and provided team-based social services to under-resourced families in the Paris suburbs. After moving to the U.S., she taught French to children and adults through the Berlitz School of Languages and local public schools.
In her 57 years as a Stamford resident, Manette was an active community member, volunteering with Hospice Care of Stamford, Hotline of Greenwich, the Stamford Commission on Aging, Waveny Care Center of New Canaan, Domestic Violence Services, FISH, and other mental health, senior citizen, and social service organizations. She also served in multiple roles with the League of Women Voters.
Manette was very active in the arts community in Stamford, both as an artist and as a teacher. She won juried exhibitions for her sculpture and watercolors, and taught art and art history to children and adolescents in the Stamford and New Canaan public schools. She studied at Silvermine, the Stamford Museum, the Greenwich Art Society, and with private teachers. She greatly enjoyed gathering in private homes to paint with friends. She served as the Chair for the Stamford Festival of the Arts for two years, inviting and organizing 50 artists to exhibit their work and conduct demonstrations. In addition, Manette was a Chair, jurist or participant for many events hosted by the Stamford Art Association, Stamford Jewish Center, and the Greenwich Art Society.
Manette was a lifelong learner as well as a lifelong teacher. Her education included a Master’s degree in Counseling in 1989 from Bridgeport University, an elementary grades teaching diploma in 1952 from Foyer Charles Peguy in Paris, and a Connecticut state teaching certificate. Manette also extended her education in human development, liberal arts, art history, and art through coursework at SUNY Purchase, Norwalk Community College, Manhattanville College, the University of Columbia, and the University of Maryland.
Manette is survived by her loving husband of 60 years, Dr. Joel M. Berns of West Lebanon, NH; her children, Philip E. Berns, Esq., and his wife Joanne Berns of Stamford, CT; Daniel E. Berns and his wife Martha (“Marty”) Howard of Geneva, NY; and Dr. JoAnn M. Berns and her husband Ralph William “Chip” Hobson III of Thetford Center, VT. She also leaves two beloved grandchildren, George J. Berns and Antoinette K. Berns, both of Stamford, CT.
Manette's gracious and gentle personality, welcoming demeanor, sincere interest in others, and penchant for telling humorous stories brought laughter, warmth, and caring to many. She will be dearly missed.
Please click on the "Photos" tab above to enjoy pictures of Manette.
Condolences messages may be left on this site and will be forwarded to family members. There will be a gathering to celebrate Manette's life on June 25th in Norwich, VT.
Donations may be made to a Hospice or social service program of your choice.