Bertha Marie Johnson, age 97, of Atascadero, passed away peacefully in her home on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. It was the culmination of an adventurous, spirited and spiritual life.
Bertha, or Betty, as many knew her, was born to Mr. Stanislaw Maluchnik and Mrs. Helen Maluchnik in Toledo, Ohio. She was one of the middle children in a large family, and as such, learned to be persistent. As she reached junior high age, her parents moved back to the family farm in Stevens Point, Wis. She loved the memories of that time, growing up and attending school despite all the work the farm demanded. She had set a goal early in life of becoming a nurse, and was able to begin that journey upon graduation from high school. Bertha attended the St. Agnes School of Nursing in Fon du Lac, Wis., graduating as a registered nurse in 1939. With the tumultuous times, she joined the Navy and worked at a stateside Naval hospital, and then was transferred to Pearl Harbor after the attack. She often spoke of her work and the brave men and women she worked with daily in Hawaii. After leaving the Navy, Bertha decided to move to California, where she was busy raising her first two daughters. Years passed and Bertha continued her nursing career working at Modesto State Hospital where she met and eventually married Samuel Johnson. She and Sam added to the family with two more daughters. The couple raised the family with love, dedication and of course further adventures. In Atascadero, Bertha was employed by and retired from an active nursing career at Atascadero State Hospital. She was a member of St. Williams parish and a proud member of the VFW. Bertha continued to be very patriotic; she loved her country and was proud to be a veteran of World War II. The flag would fly outside their home on all patriotic holidays.
She enjoyed crocheting, reading, and attending her daughters’ and grandchildrens’ functions. Whether it was camping with the Girl Scouts to taking trips to a ballet in San Francisco, Bertha continued to enrich the lives of her children. She was a regular at sporting events ranging from synchronized swimming meets to softball, football, soccer, and wrestling. You may have seen her courtside at Greyhound basketball games, or at a tennis match cheering on her family or just being an avid lover of sports. Bertha also loved watching the grandchildren show their 4H and FFA projects for many years at the Mid State Fair.
She will be remembered and missed by her loving daughters: Camille (Kevin) Healey of Atascadero, Dorothy (Michael) Wagster of Santa Margarita, Jody (Phillippe) Menteur of Niskayuna, NY. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and three great great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Samuel, her daughter Judith Brueland, and granddaughter Janet Brueland.
Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation for Bertha from 4-8 p.m .on Thursday, Nov. 21, with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Chapel of the Roses. A funeral mass will be held at St. William’s Catholic Church on Friday Nov. 22 at 11 a.m. Bertha will be laid to rest next to her husband at the Atascadero Pine Mountain Cemetery following the funeral mass.