Bergen, Doris

Bergen, Doris M.

Doris Bergen, 91, passed away peacefully on July 5, 2023 after a short illness. A long-time resident of Hamilton, Ohio, she had recently moved to the Knolls of Oxford with her beloved husband of 39 years, Joel Fink. Dr. Bergen was a professor of Educational Psychology at Miami University, and an expert in studying and creating ways to strengthen brain development in young children. Her work led to numerous books and dozens of national honors. An authority on children's play and humor, her research papers are housed in the Archives at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. In 2019 she was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame to honor the impact of her life's work after age 60. Having served as the chair of her department at Miami University for 11 years, Dr. Bergen didn't fully retire until age 85, and at the time of her death was still collaborating on another book. Born in 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Bergen was inspired by her father to trust in her intelligence and ability. She was the first person in her family to attend college. She grew up in Bucyrus, Ohio and attended Heidelberg College and Ohio State University. At age 42, after raising three daughters with her first husband, she earned her PhD in Educational Psychology from Michigan State University. Generous, optimistic, and loving to her family, Dr. Bergen loved discussing ideas, attending the theater, mentoring her students, and presenting research at numerous conferences throughout the country. Through the years she was active with the Hamilton Tree Board and as a member of her church, the Hopedale UU Community. She supported many charities and organizations that help women and the environment. In addition to her husband, Dr. Bergen is survived by her brother George, her daughters Ellen (Chris), Holly (Ray), and Gail, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Services will be private. In her honor, please consider a donation to the Hamilton (Ohio) Community Foundation N. 3rd St Hamilton, Ohio 45011. Online condolences may be left at

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