January 31, 1924 ~ February 29, 2012
Jean Begeman Robitscher Bergmark, 88, died on February 28, 2012, at her Canterbury Court residence, Atlanta, GA. Born on January 31, 1924, to Myron and Hazel Flagler Begeman, Jean grew up in Austin, TX, and in 1945 graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in journalism. She moved to Washington, DC, where she embraced DC politics, co-authoring a column on Congress for southern newspapers with her friend and fellow Texan Liz Carpenter. Jean later would go on to become one of the first women Associate Editors of "The New Republic" magazine. Throughout her life, Jean was a prolific freelance writer, co-authoring a number of books, including "Learning Joy," "Notable Men and Women of the Civil War," "How to Cook a Pig" with friend Betty Talmadge, and "Grace Towns Hamilton and the Politics of Southern Change." One evening in Washington, Jean attended a garden party and was introduced to a handsome, young reporter for "The Wall Street Journal," Jonas Bondi Robitscher, Jr. They married in 1950 and while Jean supported their growing family, Joe completed degrees in both law and medicine. Jean continued to write and began another career in real estate development, renovating homes in Foggy Bottom and on Capitol Hill. They moved to Philadelphia where Joe completed his medical residency in psychiatry. Because their first child was born legally blind, Jean helped to found the National Association for the Visually Handicapped NAVH, which produces books in large print. In 1972, now a family of five, they moved to Atlanta, where Dr. Robitscher became the first occupant of the Henry R. Luce Chair in Law and the Behavioral Sciences at Emory University. They quickly made their mark on the Atlanta community and were featured in the 1978 book "Movers and Shakers in Georgia." Dr. Robitscher died of cancer in 1981. In 1984, she married David Bergmark. Jean continued to be active in the community and her interests were wide and varied. She was a member of the Emory Women's Club, spearheading the purchase and renovation of the Houston Mill House. She was also an active member of the board of Project Interconnections, Inc., which develops permanent affordable housing for formerly homeless adults struggling with mental illness. She helped found Jerusalem House, a hospice for HIV/AIDS patients, and also Resurgens, a monthly meeting of Atlanta small business owners. She was a member of the Druid Hills Golf Club and was one of the first women members of the Atlanta Commerce Club. She was also proud of her involvement in the Georgia chapter of the International Women's Forum; the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center; PEO, a women's philanthropic organization; the Inquiry Club; the Hal Davidson Society; the Robitscher Society; and the Every Saturday Club. A life-long Democrat, she opened her lovely Druid Hills home for countless political fundraisers, social events and philanthropic causes close to her heart. Jean's energy, generosity, and commitment will be missed. Jean is survived by her daughter Jan Robitscher of Berkeley, CA; her daughter Christine Robitscher Ladd, her son-in-law, Christopher Ladd, both of Bethesda, MD, grandchildren Joanna Ladd of San Francisco, CA, Thatcher Ladd, and Nikita Ladd, both of Bethesda; her son, John Robitscher, her daughter-in-law, Linda Robitscher, and grandson Walker Robitscher of Atlanta; as well as other loving relatives. A memorial service to celebrate Jean's life will be held on March 3, 2012, at 4:00 p.m., in the chapel at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, Atlanta and the family will receive friends immediately following the service. A private internment will follow in Austin, TX. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Project Interconnections www.projectinterconnections.org Darlene Schultz, Project Interconnections, Inc., 2198 Dresden Drive Chamblee, GA 30341 404-325-4572. Wages & Sons Stone Mountain Chapel 770 469-9811. Express condolences at www.wagesandsons.com.