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Professor dead in Newton blaze

Professor dead in Newton blaze

By Jessica Heslam  |   Tuesday, February 22, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Coverage
Photo by Ted Fitzgerald

A former award-winning WGBH producer and beloved Bunker Hill Community College professor battling brain cancer perished in a fire early yesterday at her Newton home, her grieving family said.

Beth Deare, a 63-year-old grandmother of three, had survived throat cancer but was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, said family friend Ronald Mitchell of Roxbury.

Deare, a former producer for the public affairs TV program “Say Brother,” now “Basic Black” on WGBH, was undergoing weekly cancer treatments and was on leave from the college, Mitchell said.

In a statement, Deare’s brother and sister said they were devastated.

“We take comfort in knowing that the cancer she fought will no longer consume her and that her vast family and extended family — including students, and friends around the world — will keep her in love and prayer,” the siblings said.

The family said Deare’s “life was full with incredible highs, ranging from her loving daughter and three grandchildren to her many awards and accolades for her acclaimed work in television and film, including 13 Emmys and a Peabody.”

Deare had worked as a producer on “Say Brother” in the 1980s, said WGBH spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins. “We’re very saddened. It’s such a loss. She really was a very talented producer,” Hopkins said.

In a statement, Bunker Hill spokeswoman Colleen Roach said the entire college was mourning Deare’s tragic death.

“She had worked for more than 15 years in the College’s English Department and was a very passionate and engaging professor who was greatly admired by her students,’’ the statement said.

Deare’s producer credits also include “Midnight Ramble,” a film about the history of black filmmaking, said Mitchell, who said Deare also worked as a host on “Say Brother.”

Fire Marshal Stephen Coan told the Herald the cause of the Waverly Avenue blaze is still under investigation.

Colneth Smiley Jr. contributed to this report.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1318483

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