City loses finance director to cancer

DeHaven was city administrator in ‘90s
Scott Girard

Norma DeHaven was a celebrated employee around Fitchburg’s city hall.

So when the finance director and former city administrator passed away Sunday, May 25, it was “devastating to lose her,” said city administrator Tony Roach, who took over from DeHaven when she left the administrator position in 1998.

“It brings home a lot of emotions into the organization, but I think we all handled it pretty well,” Roach said. “I’m sorry to see her go.”

DeHaven, 55, first worked for the city in the 1990s as a city administrator before leaving to work for her husband’s property management business to spend more time with her family. She eventually returned to Fitchburg in fall of 2012 after working briefly in the Village of Cambridge.

“When she came back to us as the finance director, everyone at city hall just kind of celebrated that she came back home again,” Roach said. “Everybody just jumped at the idea, they all said she’d do a great job being the finance director.”

Soon after her return, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, in January of 2013, and the attitude around city hall quickly turned “from celebration to support,” Roach said.

“Employees really rallied around her and did a lot of fundraising for pancreatic cancer research,” he said. “It really brings a community together.”

Many City Hall staffers got the afternoon off Friday, May 30, to attend DeHaven’s funeral services. She was survived by her husband, Burt, and three sons, along with many others.

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