Barbara (Schemmel) Berka, 86, formerly of Paxton and Briarwood in Worcester, died Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at the Inn at Fairview, in Hudson, N.H.
Her husband of 49 years, WPI Professor Ladislav H. “Laddie” Berka, passed away in 2008.
She leaves a daughter Janis Kallgren and her husband William Kallgren and their daughter Annika Marie of Hudson, N.H., a daughter Karen Bruewer and her husband Jeffrey Bruewer and their daughters Rosemary Grace “Romy” and Veronica Ann “Roni” Bruewer of Mason, Ohio; and many nieces and nephews.
Barbara was born in New York City, the daughter of Nicholas and Clara (Skowronik) Schemmel. She grew up in New Hyde Park on Long Island.
Barbara was a graduate of Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, the State University of New York at New Paltz, and earned a master’s degree in Science Education at New York University.
After settling down in Paxton, Barbara worked with the Audubon Society, visiting elementary school classrooms throughout the Wachusett Regional School District to teach students about the natural world.
Barbara was the Lower School Science Coordinator and science teacher at the Bancroft School in Worcester for many years, retiring in 1998. In 1988 she had been selected to participate in the NEWEST Program (NASA Education Workshops for Elementary School Teachers) which included a week of study at the Kennedy Space Center.
Barbara had a great appreciation for Robert H. Goddard, the Father of Modern Rocketry. She served as the president of the Goddard Memorial Association; she researched and composed the text for the Goddard Memorial located at Goddard Memorial Drive in Worcester; and she taught a course on Robert Goddard’s life and accomplishments in the WISE program at Assumption University.
Barbara served on the Paxton Conservation Commission and the School Committee. She was active in the 4-H program. She was also president of the Paxton Women’s Club from 2003 to 2006 and life member. She was the editor of News and Notes at Briarwood, where she was an active community member for nine years, before moving to New Hampshire.
Calling hours are Monday, April 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Athy Memorial Home, 111 Lancaster St., Worcester.
The burial service will be held Tuesday, April 18, at 12 p.m. in Mooreland Cemetery, 255 Richards Ave., Paxton.
A memorial service will be held at a time and place to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to an animal rescue organization of your choice.
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