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1924 Margaret 2022

Margaret Slocum Bearn

June 20, 1924 — October 9, 2022

Margaret Slocum Bearn, 98, died in New York City, on Sunday, October 9, 2022.  She was born on June 20, 1924, at home in Fanwood, NJ, where her father, Clarence W. Slocum, a paint manufacturer, was for a while mayor, and her mother, Emma Elliot Slocum, was president of the Garden Club.


Educated at The Hartridge School in Plainfield, NJ, she was a 1945 graduate of Swarthmore College. After graduation, under the auspices of the American Friends’ Service Committee, she went to Mexico to vaccinate indigenous people against smallpox. She returned from Mexico to Yale Law School, where she earned her LL.B. in 1948, one of only two women in her class.


She spent the bulk of her career as an academic administrator, first at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, where she started as counsel and from 1956 to 1973 she was dean. In 1973, she was appointed assistant dean for admissions at New York Law School, promoted in 1976 to associate dean, which she remained until 1985, serving as acting dean of the law school in 1980. In 1985, she joined the faculty at St. John’s University School of Law where she was assistant dean and director of the office of placement and career planning. She retired from St. John’s in 1992.


For 56 years she was married to her husband, the late Dr. Alexander G. Bearn of Cheam, Surrey, England, and together they drew family and friends from around the world to their Thanksgiving celebrations in North Stonington, CT, where they also enjoyed tennis and swimming at The Misquamicut Club in nearby Watch Hill, RI. She will be remembered most for the enthusiasm that she brought to every aspect of her life, from attending performances, even rehearsals, at the Metropolitan Opera, to playing competitive croquet at the Hillsboro Club in Florida. She was an active member of the Cosmopolitan Club where she enjoyed reading novels in French and English and serving on their international visitor’s committee.


She traveled extensively with her husband in Europe, and enjoyed decades of summers at their homes in Crail, Scotland, Cambridge, England, and St. Vallier-de-Thiey, France. After his death, she continued to travel, joining Yale alumni on trips to India, South Africa, Cuba, and Mexico. 


Margaret is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Helen and Russell Pennoyer and their three children Gordon, Robert, and Margaret; and her son and daughter-in-law Gordon and Ellen Bearn and their two children Cary and Alice. She delighted in her five great-grandchildren; in Oklahoma City, Gordon and Andrea’s twins Alexandra and Brooks; and in New York City, Robert and Polly’s Victoria, Cooper, and James.

A memorial service will be held at 3 P.M. on Friday, October 28, at The Brick Presbyterian Church at Park Avenue and 92nd Street. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to The Brick Church School or the Academy of Vocal Arts, Philadelphia.

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