Press "Enter" to skip to content


Mary Hyde Chism Berg of Gloucester died Thursday, June 2, 2016.

She was born to Edward James Chism and Mary Overby (later Mary Rowe). She was predeceased by her parents; her stepmother, Virginia “Ginnie” Conrad Chism; her stepfather, Edward Rowe, and her brothers, Edward Rowe Jr. (Pat) and Robert Rowe (Pat).

She is survived by her former husband, Sven Berg Jr. (Susan) of Williamsburg; a daughter, Elizabeth Hay (Thomas) of Gloucester, and two sons, Edward of Lee Hall and George (Kristina) of Gloucester.

Mary lived most of her life on the family farm in Gloucester, where she raised dairy goats for 40 years. She was active for decades in the John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, and led many walks in which she shared her extensive knowledge of botany. She was an active member of the Friends of Dragon Run, and worked to develop and maintain access so that others could enjoy this remarkable natural area. She personally preserved wildflower habitat in Gloucester. She contributed materially to the publication of the “Flora of Virginia.”

Mary was a passionate and articulate advocate for causes she believed in, including natural and historical preservation, propagation of and education about native plants, social justice, and precise use of the English language, frequently contributing to letters to the editor and the newspaper call-in line. She took a keen interest to the last in local, national and international current affairs, popular music and culture, and science. She read widely, was a highly original thinker, and connected her knowledge of widely separated fields in startling and often amusing insights. She delighted in the company of her family, friends and neighbors, and strove to make every occasion a good time. Everyone knew she was here.

A graveside memorial service conducted by the Rev. T. Grant Ambrose will be held at 2 p.m. at Ware Episcopal Church Cemetery, Gloucester, on Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Arrangements by Hogg Funeral Home and Crematory, Gloucester Point. Family and friends may share condolences and memories at