Anne Blair Bergstrom, a long-time resident of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, passed away on Wednesday, March 8th. Born on June 21, 1951 in Baltimore, MD to Jeanne Stewart Bergstrom and Andrew Russell Bergstrom, she is survived by her sister, Mary Taylor Hill, and brother-in-law, John Stephen Taylor of Winter Park, FL; brother, Andrew Russell Bergstrom, Jr. of Cicero, IN; nephews and niece, E. Louis Metzger, Mark Daniel Metzger, and Heidi Metzger Potter; and dear friend, William Russell, of Ormond Beach, FL.
In 1955, Blair and her family moved from Baltimore to Winter Park, FL. There she discovered a love for the outdoors and a compassion for animals that remained with her throughout her life.
After graduating from Wesleyan College, Blair was invited to attend the Radcliffe Publishing Procedure Course, which she completed prior to attending Harvard Business School in Cambridge. She then worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Starting in the Circulation Department, she quickly became its Director, having impressed colleagues and superiors alike with her creativity and work ethic. Recognizing her abilities, Harvard Business Review recruited Blair. Able to see endless possibilities for any given situation, Blair was innovative in her writing and management style. A talented writer and editor, Blair became Editor-in-Chief. During her tenure, the Review positioned itself to be a more globally-relevant publication. Blair traveled extensively, interviewing international business leaders for articles she would write while advancing the reach of the magazine.
After 20 years of service, Blair retired from the Review and turned her talents to historic home restoration. She started with the Thomas Pellet House built in 1673 in Concord, Massachusetts. The house figured prominently in the American Revolution, housing a large part of Harvard University’s library during the war, and later serving as a stop on the Underground Railroad for enslaved people seeking freedom. Her next renovation project was the Concord farmhouse built on land previously part of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s farm.
Blair returned to Florida in 2000 and continued to renovate properties. She met her husband, Dr. Donald Needham, DVM. Together they worked to improve animal health and welfare until his death in 2017.
Blair was a creative accomplished woman of many talents, but it is her kindness and concern for others that will be missed most. Often saying, “There but for the grace of God go I,” she gave of herself whenever she saw a need. Her larger-than-life style, her sense of fun, and an undying optimism made her a force to behold and a colorful presence in the lives of so many.
We shall miss you, Blair. Until we meet again….
Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Thursday, March 30th at All Saints Episcopal Church in Winter Park, FL. A reception will follow in the Mary Martha Parlor.
338 E. Lyman Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789
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