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Oakland Middle School mourns loss of teacher Elizabeth Bergman

Friday, December 13, 2013 | 6:52 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Elizabeth Bergman had been a language arts teacher at Oakland Middle School for only a few months, but her death Tuesday had a widespread impact on students and faculty.

"Elizabeth was an amazing teacher. She was passionate and showed students that writing wasn't intimidating," said Helen Porter, Oakland Middle School principal. "She knew about the structure of writing and the power it had."

When students and staff discovered Ms. Bergman had breast cancer, they came together to create "Team Pink." The team asked students to wear pink on certain days on her behalf and walked in her honor in Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in October. They also took meals to her family during her illness.

Ms. Bergman died Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, of breast cancer. She was 50

"Since she passed, the students put up a bulletin board for her and have been signing it," Porter said. "It has been cathartic for them.

"The staff has also written notes of memories with Elizabeth to give to the family."

Ms. Bergman was born Aug. 28, 1963, in Columbia to Joseph Bergman and Jane Tangeman Bergman.

She taught at Gentry Middle School for 12 years before joining the faculty at Oakland Middle School this school year. Previously, she was a study skills and writing specialist at Columbia College.

She is survived by her husband, Christopher Flinchpaugh, and her sons, Owen and Michael Flinchpaugh, of Columbia. She is also survived by her mother, Jane Berman Tangemen of St. Louis; her father, Joseph Bergman, and his wife, Sue Bergman, of Arnold, Mo.; and her sisters, Barbie Reid of Columbia and Kathryn Bergman of Arcata, Calif. 

A small memorial service for close family and friends will be held later at the family's home.


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