In memory of
Nancy Berla, 89, of Columbia, MD died on May 10, 2020 after a long bout with pancreatic cancer. The daughter of Mary and Neely Turner, Ms. Berla was born on December 30, 1930 and grew up in Hamden, Connecticut. In 1952 she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH. In August of 1952, Nancy married Michael Berla, who she had met at Oberlin. Mike and Nancy lived most of the next 25 years in Ann Arbor, MI, where their four children were born. Ms. Berla earned a Master's degree in Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, in 1974. Ms. Berla worked for many years at the University of Michigan, as assistant director of the Institute for Public Policy Studies. In 1980, Mike and Nancy moved to Columbia, MD. Ms. Berla was an educational researcher and an advocate for children at risk. She had worked for the National Committee for Citizens in Education, an organization which worked on behalf of parental involvement in the schools their children attended, until her retirement in 1991. In retirement she volunteered as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children involved in custody cases. She also tutored in the Howard County public schools. Ms. Berla was a member of the board of Sundays at Three, a Howard County group which sponsored chamber music concerts. She was also a board member of A-OK, an organization that trained and assigned mentors for students in the Howard County public schools. Ms. Berla was an avid musician, performing on the piano and recorder. She enjoyed playing duets with her daughter Susan playing the violin and Nancy playing the piano when they visited. Ms. Berla organized and played and led a weekly sing along at Vantage House for many years. She was a member of Harvest Moon, a trio of women who performed at retirement and assisted living facilities in the Columbia area. She provided piano accompaniment for many friends and acquaintances. Ms. Berla also organized many other activities at Vantage House including a book club she ran for thirty years and a Spanish language club. In addition to her husband, Michael J.Berla, Ms. Berla is survived by her sister, Carol Nelson, her brother, Charles Turner, her children, Tim Berla, of Ann Arbor, MI; Susan B. Moore, of Oakland, CA; Julie Berla, of Columbia, MD; and Toby Berla, of Durham, NC; and by nine grandchildren. In honor of Nancy, donations to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - www.aclu.org or the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) - www.afsc.org would be appreciated.
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