Kathy Bergen, a vital member of the Today’s Parent team for 19 years, died last Friday of lung cancer. During her time with the magazine, Bergen worked as production editor, managing editor, human resources director and most recently, as editorial director of Todaysparent.com.
A memorial will be held this Friday at 1 p.m. in the Floral Hall of Edwards Gardens, Toronto Botanical Gardens. Donations in Bergen’s name can be made to Mt. Sinai's Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care or Wellspring.
Below is an edited letter dedicated to Bergen, written by TP editor Caroline Connell. It was originally published in the October 2007 issue of the magazine.
Kathy Bergen worked at Today’s Parent for 19 years and wore many hats: production manager, managing editor, human resources director. Her personality became a defining thread in the magazine’s DNA—whether she was tap dancing on the boardroom table for a fundraiser (I’m not kidding) or leading cheers at the National Magazine Awards.
With a social work degree and a background in graphic arts, Kathy wasn’t an obvious choice for editorial director of our fledgling website. But, lured by the excitement of the online revolution and the chance to help define a new element of the magazine she loved, she won the job in 2000. And she turned out to be the perfect person for it.
Kathy tapped her own experience as mother of a tween and a toddler (Fran is now 19 and Tim is nine) to figure out what parents would use online. Knowing that new parents love to sing to their babies but often forget traditional tunes and words, she herded a dozen staffers and friends into a recording studio, where they spent a memorable afternoon singing.
I wish I’d been there that day because, as much as she cares about doing the best job possible, Kathy also insists on having fun in everything she does. That’s why it hit the TP team so hard a year ago when she was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
Kathy’s influences continues strongly here. Most inspiring is her ability to find joy in this journey while never denying its pain. Through it all, her forthright style sweeps aside any awkwardness: “Don’t worry if you don’t know what to say,” she wrote in an email about her illness. “I don’t know either.”
I do know one thing I want to say to Kathy: Thank you—for your friendship, your humour, your honest, and oh yes, your tap dancing.