Obituaries

Betty Jean Bernard: Loved life and loved to laugh

Bernerd

Betty Jean Bernard, right, who passed away Dec. 14, 2013.

Betty Jean Bernard passed away Dec. 14, 2013 at the age of 85. Betty loved life, loved people, loved to laugh.

Betty had many friends, and was loved by many, especially in the community surrounding All Souls Church in Berkeley, but also on her block in North Berkeley, and really everywhere she went!

Betty was an active part of All Souls Church and will be missed by its members. Alan, Marjorie, Dan, Lenore and Dean will miss Betty greatly. Betty was very close with Lenore and Dean’s daughter Lane, and their long friendship will always remain.

Betty was born in San Francisco, and grew up in Colorado, but spent most of her life in the Berkeley area. She worked for years as a cook at Kip’s on Durant Avenue, right near the UC Berkeley campus. She lived with her partner, Joe De Alba of Berkeley, until his death in 2008. They spent many fun years together, and enjoyed traveling to Hawaii, among other scenic locales. Betty remained very close with members of Joe’s family, especially Joe’s sister Isabel and her husband Greg.

When Joe got sick, and Betty needed more help with his care at home, a group of friends on her block became more involved in her daily life. Betty became more and more a part of this tribal family over the last four years. Frank, Linda, Mikee, Corey, Alexi and Erika were family to Betty, and will always love her. Alexi was her “chef,” preparing almost all of her meals daily. Erika brought her to all of her appointments, ate dinner with her every night, and got her ready for bed. Corey oversaw her medical care, scheduled doctor’s visits, and was always checking in on her.  The late Frank Moore, shaman/performance artist (1946-2013), guided all of them so that Betty was taken care of, so that her life was the way he would want his to be!

When Betty was no longer able to live in her apartment due to medical needs, they were able to move her into Chaparral House in Berkeley, where Erika works as the Director of Activities, so that she could be close to everyone, could see Erika every day, and keep enjoying life.

She lived there from March 2013 until her death. Betty died peacefully and surrounded by love. The night before she died, her friends all visited. Betty could not respond, but she clearly felt them all with her. Erika stayed late to do their evening routine one last time: she played a selection of Betty’s favorite songs from her iPod and read to Betty some of Frank’s poems.

Betty had a great life.

Graveside services will be Friday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m. at Sunset View Cemetery, top of Fairmount Ave., El Cerrito. Donations in Betty’s memory may be made to Inter-Relations. Please contact mac@eroplay.com for information.

Please share your messages of condolence and/or memories of Betty Bernard in the comments.

Berkeleyside is always honored to publish, at no cost, obituaries of members of the Berkeley community. Please email text and photo(s) to editors@berkeleyside.com.

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  • Guest

    Thank you for sharing. I can feel the love that surrounded her through this obituary.