Marlene Marie-Jeanne Martin Beard, the wife of the late Gerald “Gerry” Mancel Beard, of Seneca, S.C., passed away unexpectedly Sept. 22, 2017, at Oconee Memorial Hospital.

Marlene and Gerry were also longtime residents of Alden, Ill., and Stuart, Fla.

A native of Chatellerault, France, Mrs. Beard was born to the late Andre Emile Martin and Raymonde Leday Martin. She was a retired French teacher of 42 years.

Mrs. Beard is survived by her daughters, Happy Alene Hoffman (Lynn) of Jacksonville, Fla., and Linnea Anne Beard of Stuart, Fla.; grandson, Alexander Gerald Hoffman (Kate) of Jacksonville, Fla., and; brother, Daniel Martin (Brigitte) of Chattellerault, France.

Marlene was known as “Madame Beard” by her colleagues and students. She was proud to have become an American citizen in 1975 after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1974. Besides assisting her husband with his business, Alden Skelly and Alden Café, from 1962 to 1980, Marlene was the first female teacher at Northwestern Military and Naval Academy in Lake Geneva and later taught French in Burlington, Genoa City and at Big Foot High School in Walworth from 1977 to 1980.

After moving to Florida in 1980 to semi-retire, Madame Beard resumed teaching French full-time at Martin County High School from 1982 to 2007. Her teaching accolades included Martin County Teacher of the Year and Florida French Teacher of the Year in 1991. Her adventurous teaching style encompassed creating a French program that was state- and nationally-ranked, serving on the Florida State Board of French Congrée (speaking competitions) and leading numerous groups of students on full emersion foreign exchange programs to France.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, at Alden United Methodist Church, Alden, Ill. Burial will follow at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Harvard, Ill. A reception will follow at The Stratford Banquet Hall, Harvard, Ill. A celebration of life will also be held Dec. 9, in Stuart, Fla.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Oconee Hospice of the Foothills, GHS Cottingham Hospice House, Attn: Foundation Office, 298 Memorial Drive, Seneca, S.C. 29672. The family will be establishing the Madame Marlene Beard Memorial Scholarship Fund for Outstanding Foreign Language Students, which shall be offered within the Martin County School System in Stuart, Fla.

Saunders and McFarlin Funeral Home is assisting the family.



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