Elga Marie Bier, 74, Was Island Summer Resident

Elga Maria Bier, a longtime Vineyard summer resident, died in her sleep at her home in Stamford, Conn., on the night of Monday, June 28. After successfully beating breast cancer and fighting mantle cell lymphoma courageously for five years, the cancer finally prevailed. She was 74.

Mrs. Bier was born March 6, 1930 in Leipzig, Germany, eldest daughter of the late Dr. Erhard Klette and his wife, Theodora. She lived in England and Paris where she worked in some of the finest hotels before she immigrated to New York city in 1958. She was director of travel for the American Field Service (AFS) of New York city for 10 years prior to founding her own travel business, Travel With Friends Inc., in Stamford. AFS is a foreign exchange student program. As an AFS Stamford chapter member and regional coordinator for lower Fairfield County, Mrs. Bier interviewed exchange students, placed them with families and supported them during their home stays in the Stamford area as they grappled with homesickness and culture shock. In addition, she served as a literacy volunteer and joked that her students would end up speaking English with a German accent.

In 1978, Mrs. Bier and her husband bought land and built a house in Down Harbor after enjoying the Island since 1974. Her husband currently serves as president of the association where they introduced sunset "docktails" on the Down Harbor pier. Elga also supported the town by serving as a volunteer at the Edgartown Historical Society.

She loved travel and meeting people from different places and was on the inaugural transatlantic 747 Pan Am flight in 1970 which visited every continent, setting foot on Antarctica in 2003.

Mrs. Bier is deeply missed. Her tolerance, patience and selflessness are qualities she brought into each of her interactions with others. Instrumental in her fight against cancer were her positive outlook and sense of humor. Her sense of adventure and travel propelled her around the world a number of times and allowed her to provide excellent travel counseling to her clients.

She is survived by her husband, Thomas H. Bier, and their daughter, Jessica Bier of Manhattan; two sisters, Liliana Eiben and Regina Huenermann of Germany; and her AFS children Giuseppe Trogu of Sardinia (living in San Francisco), Arzu Harmankaya of Istanbul (living in Tehran) and Miki Kato of Tokyo.

Mrs. Bier received her cancer treatment at the Bennett Cancer Center of Stamford; while on the Island, she continued her treatment at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, where she received excellent care.

Contributions can be made in memory of Mrs. Bier to Martha's Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. A memorial service is planned for Sunday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m. at The Congregational Church of Stamford on Walton Place.