A star among us has exhausted her earthly energy.
Marlene Haffmans died on Sunday, January 15, after stoically battling a rare bone cancer. She passed peacefully, surrounded by loving family, the surf of her beloved Wrightsville Beach in full view from her recliner.
Marlene’s exemplary life was truly a gift to the world. Passionate dedication to caring for children was a defining characteristic throughout the many roads she traveled. Throughout a lifetime, working in a Staten Island mission housing 800 children in the 1960s, to anti-war demonstrations, Woodstock adventures, living in and restoring a red one-room schoolhouse with a potbelly stove in the hills of upstate NY, raising children on the road, crisscrossing the US and Mexico in a purple and pink VW van with bunk-bed cribs, an awarded and storied career with the Center for Human Development in Springfield Massachusetts, sharing in raising her grandchildren both in MA and after moving to NC when her granddaughter was born.
Marlene spread peace and inspired so many people with whom she connected. She leaves broken hearts and amazing memories for so many.
Her grandchildren Chloe Rose and Nicholas Dakota Berard meant the world to her. Marlene’s daughter Dawn Berard, son Greg Haffmans, and younger brother Al Curtin couldn’t have possibly loved her more. So many incredible friends that have become family over the years, among them Georgia, Barbara, Crashie, Aggie, David, Grace, Jenn… We Love You Mom!
Services will be held on Saturday, January 21, at Nowak Funeral & Cremation Services, 15 Ludlow Avenue, Springfield, MA, with calling hours from 10:30am-12:30pm. There will be a time for memory sharing starting at 11:30. A prayer service will be offered at 12:30, followed by her burial at St. Michael’s Cemetery. The family welcomes you to join them in a reception following the service.
Those of you that knew Mom/Marlene/Noni, knew that she was an amazing selfless, kind, loving person. What may have been harder to spot with her mild-mannered demeanor, was her incredible ability to overcome, pain and fight a battle so difficult and daunting that most would have given up. Marlene choose life and lived each day to its fullest. She was able to live many months past what had been expected and enjoyed an amazing adventure with her family and friends by her side "Living in a Painting" as she said, at Wrightsville Beach, NC. As she got weaker and it was more difficult to find veins for lab tests and blood transfusions, she did not give up and endured so much for the ability to enjoy more of her time on earth. She was able to live longer than her body would have allowed with blood and platelet transfusions, as much as three times a week towards the end, from Zimmer Cancer Center in Wilmington, NC. She was able to enjoy Thanksgiving, and Christmas and even was strong enough to share a toast with her children on New Year's Eve 2022-2023 while blowing bubbles off the balcony of the oceanfront "painting" we enjoyed. We want to honor her memory and give back in her honor by helping the American Red Cross gather more blood and platelets to help others get to live to enjoy the world around them as she was so fortunate to be able to do. The nurses at the Zimmer Cancer Center were so amazing and truly loved and cared for mom. Their smiles, the stories they shared, warm blankets and comfort will never be forgotten. My understanding is there is even a greater shortage on platelets than blood, but either would be wonderful and helpful I am sure. Thank you for helping to pay it forward. Use this link to schedule a time to donate blood in mom's honor. https://sleevesup.redcrossblood.org/campaign/in-loving-memory-of-marlene-haffmans-2/