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In Memoriam - Frank Bergin

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Frank Bergin, RI
The IBO formed a Guard of Honor at the wake of one of their most esteemed lifetime members, Mr. Frank Bergin, at the John E. Day Funeral Home in Red Bank, New Jersey last week. The Guard mostly comprised of IBO past presidents as a mark of respect for such an influential Irish community leader. Holding back her tears, his daughter noted that “He would have been so proud to see you all here."

Francis D. Bergin of Sunnyside, Queens, NY, passed away peacefully at St. Albans VA Hospice Center, Jamaica, Queens, on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at the young age of 87 years. Frank was born in Cork City where his father was a Commandant in the Irish Army and was stationed at Collins Barracks. His family immigrated to NY in 1928, when he was four years old and they settled in Brooklyn. Frank was a graduate of Bishop Laughlin HS, Brooklyn, NY and Fordham University, Bronx, NY. Upon graduation from high school, he entered the U.S. Army and served in the 70th Infantry Division, receiving a Purple Heart in World War II.

He lived in Middletown, NJ for many years and was a communicant of St. James R.C. Church, Red Bank, before moving to Sunnyside in 1993. His made his career as a life insurance agent and a financial consultant. He was past president of the Irish Business Organization of NY from 1979-1981, only one of two Presidents to hold the position for three years and an honorary lifetime member. He was elected Irish Business Man of the Year in 1994. Frank was very proud of his Irish roots and of being a U.S. Army Veteran. He was even prouder of his family. Frank is survived by three daughters, two sons, 11 grandchildren, a great-granddaughter Emma, and his sister, Helen Buchholtz. He was predeceased in 1987 by his wife of 35 years, Laurina O'Brien Bergin and in 2001 by his son, Robert.

Frank told his uplifting story in a chapter of the widely popular book While mem’ry brings us back again a collection of memoirs produced by the Aisling Irish Community Center in the Bronx. The book profiles the immigrant experiences of 35 different individuals who left Ireland between 1927 and 1964 and brings to life the compelling stories of those men and women who came to America to make a life for themselves, leaving behind family, friends and neighbors. New York’s Daily News carried a report on of the book launch, in which it profiles Frank Bergin, an 82-year-old who moved to NY just before the 1929 stock market crash. He recounts being shot in Alsace in 1945 while fighting in World War II, he went on to become the president of the Irish Business Organization of New York and still works selling real estate.”

Maeve O’Malley Past President (’93-’94) said, “Frank was the backbone of the IBO for so long. One of nature’s gentlemen who was so loyal and such a good friend to the IBO and his friends”
Brian Nolan (Past President (’98- ’99) said, “I will miss his calm demeanor, his good humor and his knowing sagacity. I met him first in the Old Stand upstairs at my first IBO meeting...he took me under his arm straight away. A good man. He was a good age and had a great life... Air dheis De go raibh a h-anam.

Dympna Kenny-Avenia – Past President 1986 said, “I have known Frank for many years and he was just a wonderful gentleman and the backbone of IBO. He will be sadly missed”

Jim Doran (Past President 2002-2004) said, “He was a true gentle soul. God rest.”

Niall O’Leary (Past President 2010-’11) said, "Frank was a fabulous role model for me: in his later years he was a regular at the IBO Business Breakfast and always put everyone in great form early in the day with his insightful humor and wisdom."

Attracta Lyndon (Past President 2006-2007) said, “Frank was a gentleman to his fingertips and a true mentor to me. May he rest in peace.”

Sheila Lynott Hourican (Current President) said, “We shared the subway home from IBO meetings many times (Frank loved to walk!) We talked about changing times and the IBO of twenty years previous. I learned much from Frank, enjoyed his chatty ways and sense of humor. This gentleman will be sorely missed by all who knew him”

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