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Wakefield High School Class of 1959

Arlington, Virginia

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Rita Bergner's photograph from the 1959 Starstone

Rita Bergner Terry       1942 - 2010

Rita Bergner Terry passed away on Christmas Day in Columbia after suffering a severe stroke. She resided in Columbia, Missouri for 36 years. She was born in Madison, WI on April 22, 1942. She lived briefly during WWII in Boston, MA, where her father served in the Navy. After the war, her family moved to Arlington, VA, where she attended school, graduating from Wakefield High School in June 1959. She graduated from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, and was a member of the Phi Mu Sorority. Following graduation, she worked for the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC, where she met her husband, Arthur Terry. With their daughter Lynne, they lived for several years in Rochester, NY, and then moved to Missouri after a faculty appointment for her husband at the University of Missouri. She would often joke with friends from the East that living in MO was not something she would have planned, since before she moved here, she thought Missouri was flat—until she saw how the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers had created bluffs and hills, and she became to love this state.

Rita Bergner Terry

Rita Bergner Terry

In Columbia she worked as a Writer Editor/Librarian for the Climate Applications Branch of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA/NESDIS) for 17 years. During this period she also received a master’s degree in Library Science for the University of Missouri. Visitors from all over the world came to learn techniques for using data from the weather satellites in crop indices to plan for food shortages in developing countries. The indices could not quantify production but could qualify the current season as a good or bad year. She later worked at the University Hospital as an editor and completed her professional career at the Harry S. Truman Veteran’s Administration Hospital.

After retirement from the Federal Civil Service, she enjoyed volunteering at the Missouri State Historical Society and the Central Missouri Humane Society, singing in her church choir and in Columbia Chorale (a community chorus), gardening, reading, needlework and feeding the birds and deer that visited her yard. Rita remained active in the Midway Locust Grove Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women. She enjoyed cooking and was noted for her good food and confections. In the last year she had enjoyed extensive travel, and had just returned from London. She is survived by her daughter, Lynne Hooper, of Hartsburg, MO, and numerous friends.

She met David Sliney at our 50th reunion, and that led to a very close relationship; and they travelled extensively in the last year. They had just returned from London when she suffered a stroke.