University News

Open House and Memorial Service for Irving and Connie Berg Nov. 5

October 21, 2011

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MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University and Macomb communities are invited to an open house and memorial service Saturday, Nov. 5 for Irving and Constance (Connie) Demuth Berg, who both recently passed away: Connie on Aug. 15 and Irving on Sept. 18.

The 2-4 p.m. Nov. 5 open house and memorial service will be held at the West Central Illinois Arts Center, 25 East Side Square, in downtown Macomb. (Visit

Berg taught political science at Western Illinois University from 1965-1992. He was a charter member of Western's American Federation of Teachers (AFT) bargaining unit as well as the campus charter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. He served on Faculty Senate, taught in London with the Students' Abroad program and received National Endowment for the Humanities awards, allowing him to travel extensively across Europe.

He served on boards and committees for many organizations, including Western's Bureau of Cultural Affairs, as well as local groups such as AARP, Learning is ForEver (L.I.F.E.) and the McDonough Democratic Coalition.

Berg, a WWII Navy veteran (1944-1946, earned his bachelor's degree in history at Massachusetts State College (1950), his master's degree in history from Boston University (1951) and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida (1967).

Connie, 86, was an art educator for 31 years, teaching at all levels from K-graduate school. Locally, she taught and was a guidance counselor in the West Prairie area schools. She also was a registered art therapist, and she presented workshops on the healing benefits of art expression locally and internationally. Connie was the author of many articles on art and therapy, which have been published in national journals such as The Smithsonian Journal of American Art.

She received a National Endowment for the Humanities Award for study at Tufts University, and in 2007 she was presented with the Distinguished Alumna Award from her alma mater, MacMurray College.

After she retired, she focused on her art, especially watercolor painting and sculpture, studying at schools in England, Scotland and France. She won numerous awards for her sculptures in state and national juried shows.

Connie was active in community ventures, including L.I.F.E., the Anna Parker Literature Club, the Macomb Peace and Justice Organization, Fortnightly and the Macomb Feminist Network. She was a founding and active member of Macomb's Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

In April (2011), Connie dedicated a sculpture/assemblage, titled "Pandora's Dance" to the WIU Women's Center (in the new Multicultural Center) in honor of Western's School of Music Professor Marietta Dean for her advocacy of music by historical and contemporary women composers at the local, state, national and international levels.

The Bergs are survived by three children and five grandchildren.

Donations in their memory may be made to Doctor's Without Borders, Moses King Brickyard or the West Central Illinois Arts Center.

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