Conrad James Berdeen (Connie) passed away on February 10th, at home in Arundel at the age of 85. He was born on May 17th, 1937, at 32 Grove Street, Kennebunk, to Kenneth W. Berdeen and Eleanor (Furbish) Berdeen.
Conrad lived his first eleven years on Grove and Park Streets, where he enjoyed many happy childhood days at Park Street Playground. At age twelve, Conrad and his family moved to Alewive Road, where he spent most of his time fishing and hunting with his dog, Spike.
Conrad attended Kennebunk High School from grades 7 through 12, where he was involved in many extra-curricular activities, including Drama (grades 7-12) and Band and Glee Club (grades 9-12.) His senior year he was president of both the Drama Club and the Debate Club, as well as a member of Student Council and the Royal Society for the Preservation of Vests, Weskuts, and Fruitboots. He was also an active participant in the KHS athletics program where he played basketball, grades 7-12, football in grade 12, and track and field in grades 11 and 12, placing second at the state meet in the shot-put. When he graduated from high school in 1955, Conrad was awarded the John Babine Student Athlete Award. Other honors included being selected as a Junior Rotarian and a delegate to Boys’ State.
After high school, Conrad enrolled in Gorham State Teachers College (now USM), where he was highly active in many college activities. He was a member Kappa Delta Phi fraternity all four years, serving as national representative. He was a four-year member of the band, the chorus (president senior year) and the Student Education Association, serving as treasurer his sophomore year, vice-president his junior year, and president his senior year. He also served on the student council and was elected president of the men’s residence as a junior. Conrad graduated in 1959 with a BS in Education, then went on to earn a master’s in education from University of Maine, and his Sixth Year Certificate from the University of Connecticut.
From 1953-1959, Conrad worked at Marier’s Men Shop in Kennebunk, where he “broke-in” Karl Hooper. From 1954-1964, he played the drums in local dance bands.
In June of 1960, Conrad enlisted in the Air National Guard, and was honorably discharged in June of 1966 with the rank of Staff Sergeant E-5.
Conrad began his teaching career in Gardiner, Maine, where he taught in a grade 4-8 school. He also coached junior high basketball and was the assistant high school track coach. From 1962-1964, he was the principal of West Gardiner Elementary School. In 1964, he accepted a position as principal of North Stonington Elementary School in Connecticut, where he served until 1968.
From 1968-1995, Conrad was employed by Stonington Public Schools in Connecticut, as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal, and served on multiple district committees. He retired as principal of Deans Mill School in June of 1995. From 1996-1997, he served as interim principal of East Elementary School in Sharon, MA, and from 1997-2005, he was principal of Butler Elementary School in Avon, MA.
In addition to public school work, Conrad was also an adjunct faculty member at UConn. He taught several different graduate courses in science, some of which he developed himself, and some with industry fiscal support. Conrad also belonged to several professional groups, including state and national principals’ organizations, National Science Teachers Association, and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Professional honors include appearing in “Who’s Who in American Education,” being selected as one of 600 participants nationwide for Business Week’s Conference “Who Will Teach Our Children,” and being named a “Partner in Excellence” by the Edison Electric Institute.
Conrad was married in 1960 and had four children: James, Jefferson, Julie, and Kenneth. The children were raised in Westerly, Rhode Island, and Ledyard, Connecticut. They all graduated from Ledyard High School.
In the spring of 1989, Conrad reconnected with his high school classmate, Jane Nelson Lyons. When they discovered they’d both been divorced for a significant amount of time, they became engaged, then married in 1995. Conrad became stepfather to Jane’s five adult children: Steve, Marilyn, Janine, Diane, and Ted, and step-grandfather to Jon, Paul, Jackie, and Mikey. Jane was Conrad’s soulmate and the love of his life.
Conrad was predeceased by his parents, his wife, Jane, his sister, Cynthia Berdeen Sirois, and his brother, Kent Berdeen.
He is survived by his children: James, of Bemidji, MN; Jefferson, and wife, Marnie, and grandchildren Leah and Peter of Goffstown, NH; Julie Martin, and her husband, Brian, and granddaughters Lindsey and Sarah of Bozrah, CT; and Ken, of Pawcatuck, CT. He is also survived by his nephew, Brent Sirois, his wife, Sharon, and special grand-niece, Hannah, of Kennebunk; niece, Lynette Mascioli, and husband, Michael, and grand-nieces Sarah and Alyssa, all of Beverly, MA.
Conrad has often said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, I want to go where they go.”
Visiting hours will be held 2 – 4PM Sunday, February 19, 2023 at Bibber Memorial chapel 67 Summer St Kennebunk. A funeral service will be held 1 PM Monday at the chapel. Spring interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Kennebunk.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Conrad and Jane Nelson Berdeen Memorial Scholarship, ℅ of Kennebunk High School 89 Fletcher St, Kennebunk ME 04043.
To leave a message of condolence, please visit Conrad’s Book of Memories at www.bibberfuneral.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St. Kennebunk.