died on May 13, 2020, at Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Center, in Natick MA. Born on June 21, 1928 in Jamaica, NY, to Helen Sawin and Hugh Guille Bergen, Lois grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Cornell University in 1949 with a degree in Zoology. While at Cornell, she met Frank Abbott, whom she married in December 1948. She and Frank were blessed with 6 children: Curtis, Donald, Jane, Paul, Ken and Alison. The loss of Donnie in 1960 was a great tragedy, which she and Frank overcame in providing a stable and nurturing environment for their family, with leisure time focused on camping, skiing, and memorable road trip vacations across the country in the family Volkswagen bus.
Lois returned to graduate school in 1971, and received her PhD in mathematical biology at the age of 49 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She did post-doctoral work researching Drosophila, specifically the fruit fly’s Lyra gene, and eventually held teaching and lab positions at the University of California, Davis and CU Boulder. She published article in Science magazine about her career (Dec 2000) as well as a textbook and articles in her field. After Frank’s death in 2006, she stayed in Boulder where she enjoyed a life of intellectual engagement, friendship, exercise, travel, leadership roles at Jefferson Unitarian Church, gardening, attending concerts, and leading hikes in the nearby Indian Peaks Wilderness to see the wildflowers.
Lois’ sister Helen Jane Taichert predeceased her in 2018. Lois is survived by her beloved “baby” brother G.S. Peter Bergen, and her five children and their families: Curtis and Maryvonne (Menlo Park, CA), Jane and Paul Krumm (Boise, ID), Paul and Vicki (Tucson, AZ), Ken and Jennifer (Asheville, NC) and Alison and Steve Quackenbush (Framingham, MA.) “Zannie”, as she was known to them, was also loved and appreciated by her 13 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
Her family would like to thank the staff at Mary Ann Morse for their love and devoted care during her time there and her illness with Covid-19. A memorial service and burial will be held in Boulder, Colorado at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Lois’ honor to the Association for Women in Science www.awis.org, or the Association for Women in Mathematics awm-math.org.
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