2016-03-18 / People

Jack Berman

Jack Berman, 88, of South Portland, passed away at Maine Veterans’ Home in Scarborough on Feb. 19, 2016, following a kidney infection exacerbated by Alzheimer’s disease.

Jack was born in Lewiston on Jan. 13, 1928, the only son of Meyer and Eva Berman, and he attended Lewiston High School. He graduated from University of Maine Orono in 1950 with a degree in engineering and immediately attended Yale University to obtain certification as a traffic engineering specialist. His expertise in engineering was pivotal in his service during the Korean War, which he entered in July 1951.

A first lieutenant, Jack oversaw teams of Korean soldiers installing and repairing many miles of communication lines throughout the country. After he was honorably discharged and awarded the Purple Heart Medal in 1953, Jack held various engineering positions ranging from work at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey under Robert Moses, work with the city of Portland Public Works Department as a traffic engineer, and running his own engineering and surveying firm.

Over time, Jack discovered he was a gifted salesman and he made some shifts in his career, having great success and fun selling cars at Pape and at Forest City Chevrolet. Jack also became more interested in helping people and decided to pursue a master’s degree in counseling at the University of Southern Maine. He found great personal and professional satisfaction in counseling military veterans and in leading support groups for people with bipolar disorder. Jack was diagnosed and treated for cancer in the late 1980s and, with other cancer survivors, founded the Portland-based Cancer Community Center, where he led support groups and did extensive counseling. Upon retirement, Jack continued to volunteer as a counselor at Maine Medical Center and was exceptionally proud of being named an adjunct professor in counseling at Southern Maine Community College. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Jack continued to counsel others as long as he could, always with a sense of humor and hope for a cure for his disease. Proud of his military service, Jack was an active member and one-time president of The Retired Officers Association and he spent the last couple years of his life being cared for by the fine folks at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Scarborough. Jack was a longtime member of the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church, where he served as president, served on various boards, applied his engineering skills to create the church’s first parking lot, helped plant the church’s evergreens and was instrumental in helping the church purchase additional land. He was also a one-man greeting committee, a role he adored.

Jack was married for over 43 years to his beloved wife, Marcia. They loved their home in South Portland, traveling together, their Unitarian Universalist church, and Jack particularly loved making Marcia laugh.

Jack is survived by his wife, Marcia Dyer Berman of South Portland; daughter Diane Halstead and sonin law Michael of Franklin, Tennessee; daughter Jane Pulsifer and son-in-law Randall of Saco; stepdaughter Anne Corvi and partner Emma Dryden of New York City; his beloved grandchildren, Matthew Halstead and wife Lauren of Bloomington, Indiana; Alyson Halstead of Henrico, Virginia; Morgan Pulsifer of Baltimore, Maryland; and Jordan Pulsifer of Saco; and by his great-grandsons, Isaac and namesake Jackson, also of Bloomington, Indiana. He is also survived by cousins Jan and Cindy Casteline of Saco.

Jack was predeceased by his sisters, Barbara and June.

A celebration of Jack’s life will be held at the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church (524 Allen Ave., Portland) on Saturday, March 19 at 2 p.m. The family hopes many will join in sharing happy memories of Jack.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Jack’s memory be considered to any of the following organizations about which Jack wcared so much: Cancer Community Center, 778 Main St., South Portland, ME 04106-5447 or http:// cancercommunitycenter.org/support-us/tribute-gifts/); Maine Veterans’ Homes General Fund, 290 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074; or Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church, 524 Allen Ave., Portland, ME 04103 or office@a2u2.org.

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