Sheila O'Connell Berg, born January 19, 1922 in Cambridge, MA, passed away peacefully amongst family at Marin General on January 4th. Sheila led a very active and fulfilling life. After completing her BA in education from Framingham State Teachers College, she taught for a year before attending naval reserve midshipman school at Smith College. She was commissioned an ensign and served from 1944-1947, leaving as a lieutenant. Her favorite assignment was as a communications officer for the admiral in charge of blimp antisubmarine warfare.
Sheila was then admitted to the Harvard Radcliffe program in Business Administration, graduating in 1949. During her five-year career as a research associate of a consulting firm, she also served as a director and secretary of the Boston Society for Advancement of Management. In 1955 Sheila moved to San Francisco, where she met and married her husband of 57 years, Gordon. Shortly after arriving, she became head of the men's dept. in a large SF employment agency until moving to Loma Verde to start a family. While in Ignacio, she fought successfully to keep it from being annexed into Novato and was jokingly bestowed the title, "Empress of Ignacio."
After having three children within three years, she earned her CA teaching certificate and in 1966 moved to Lucas Valley to begin a career as a full-time substitute teacher in the Dixie School District, a job she held for over 30 years. A highlight in 1998 was when Sheila was designated a Marin County "Schoolmaster of the Year" from the California Schoolmasters Club.
During her 46 years in Lucas Valley, Sheila served in many capacities: corresponding secretary and quarterly newsletter author/editor for the Dixie Teachers Association; secretary of the Catholic Social Service Auxiliary of Marin; lector at St. Isabella; vice president and secretary of the Radcliffe Club of San Francisco; and secretary of the Dixie Schoolhouse Foundation.
Sheila is survived by her husband, Gordon, two sisters, Eileen and Rosemary O'Connell of Belmont, MA, daughter, Ellen (George) of San Rafael, two sons, John (Lisa), and Erik (Erin) of Santa Rosa, and six grandchildren, Scott, Stacie, Ryan, Robert and Kallie and Kristin.
The family will host an open house at the Old Dixie Schoolhouse in San Rafael in Sheila's honor on January 19 from 11:00-1:00. Donations in her memory can be made to the Old Dixie Schoolhouse Foundation. "Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends." WB Yeats
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Jan. 13, 2013