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Carol Bergmark

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Carol Comstock Bergmark, 87, passed away on Tuesday, July 8, 2008, after a rich, long life and a blessedly brief illness.
A resident of Jackson MS, since 1953, Carol was born in San Antonio TX, where she grew up and made many wonderful life-long friends. She graduated from the University of San Antonio, now Trinity University, and attended Westminster Choir College in Princeton NJ. She played French horn simultaneously with the San Antonio, Waco, and Austin Symphony Orchestras.
While working as church secretary at Travis Park Methodist Church in San Antonio, Carol met Robert Bergmark, a Boston University seminary student who attended a church service en route to mission work in Mexico. They married in 1946, had three children and served Methodist churches, Bob as pastor and Carol as choir director, in MA and TX. In 1953, the family moved to Jackson for Bob's appointment at Millsaps College as a professor of philosophy.
For many decades, Carol participated actively in Jackson's musical community. She taught piano for 27 years and served as contralto soloist at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church, her home church, for 18 years. She was the contralto soloist for the Messiah and the Millsaps Singers for 9 years and sang with them in future years for major works. She was also contralto soloist at St. Peter's Catholic Cathedral and for the High Holy Days at Temple Beth Israel. She was a member of St. Andrews Chamber Society and contralto soloist on occasion at St. James Episcopal Church.
As a charter member of the Maurice Thompson Singers, Carol enjoyed their professional recording sessions. She sang in Night at the Opera performances promoted by the Mississippi Opera Association and had a supporting role in Puccini's Suor Angelica. She was a charter member of the highly acclaimed Musica Sacra Singers, a choral group that specialized in 14th-16th century works. She was a charter and board member of the Mississippi Academy of Ancient Music.
During the civil rights movement of the 1960's, Carol was active in Mississippians for Public Education in their successful effort to preserve the public schools and was the Protestant representative of the Interfaith Fellowship, formed to promote understanding and cooperation of Jews, Catholics, and Protestants. In 2003, she was featured in "A Southern Town," a Discovery Channel documentary about the involvement of white Jacksonians in the civil rights movement.
Carol served as president of the Millsaps Women's Group and was the first president of the PTA at Spann Elementary School in 1958. In 1969, she was a co-founder of International Friends, created to provide a support network for women arriving in Jackson from all over the world. Until her death, she continued to be very active and revered in this group of international women.
There are many examples of the strength, independence and leadership Carol showed over her lifetime. In 1962, on a sabbatical from Millsaps College, she and her husband took their three children, ages 9, 11, and 13, to travel and camp with them throughout Europe for the better part of a year. In 1971, on another sabbatical, Carol and Bob circumnavigated the world. They reveled in the diversity of culture, music, thought, philosophy, and religion. They enjoyed three summers in England at University College and St. John's College of Oxford University. Carol toured China in 1976 with the Millsaps Study Group with succeeding tours in 1980, 1985, and 1988. The 1985 trip was a gift from the Chinese government in appreciation for her promotion of a concert of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and a program of excerpts of Chinese Opera at Millsaps as well as hosting the Chinese delegation for the International Ballet Competitions.
Carol's body has been donated to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in accordance with a decision she made in 1971.
Carol is preceded in death by her husband; her daughter, Christina Bergmark; her son Edward's wife, Sally Kroon; and her grandson, Christopher Bergmark.
She is survived by her sister, Bessie Jean King of San Antonio; her daughter, Martha Bergmark and Martha's husband, Elliott Andalman of Takoma Park MD and Jackson; their sons, Aaron Andalman of Cambridge MA and David Andalman of New York NY; and her son, Edward Bergmark of Mendota Heights MN; and his sons, David Bergmark of Changsha, China, and Brian Bergmark of Boston MA.
Memorial contributions may be made to either of Carol's most cherished philanthropies, the Bergmark Endowed Scholarship Fund at Millsaps College, c/o Director of Donor Relations, P. O. Box 151191, Jackson MS 39210, or the Mississippi Center for Justice, P. O. Box 1023, Jackson MS 39215. The scholarship fund was created by Bob and Carol Bergmark at the time of their daughter Christina's death in 1986.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Carol Bergmark will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, July 26, 2008, at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church. The family will greet friends at the church following the service.
Published in Clarion Ledger on July 13, 2008
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