Bertha (Oropeza) GardnerJune 8, 1941 ~ July 31, 2017 (age 76)
Bertha Oropeza Gardner of Fair Oaks, California passed away peacefully, at the age of 76, on July 31, 2017 after her courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Bertha was born on June 8, 1941 in Palmito, Durango, Mexico to Francisco and Paula Oropeza. Bertha was the second oldest of fourteen children. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Milo Rea Gardner; daughters Michelle Lowe (Tony) and Melissa Pieri (Scott); grandchildren Christopher Lowe (Serafin), Erik Lowe (Bobbi), Adam Lowe, Avery Pieri, Hannah Pieri; and great grandson Evan Lowe. She is a cherished sister to Frank (Yolanda), Cosme (Marlene), Andy (Liz), Felipe (Wanda), Olga (Don), Memo (Gloria), Cuco (Jessie), Manny (Linda), Susana (Jeff), George (Kristie), Emma (Roger), Lupe (Dan), and a Tia to 40 nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were son Tommy, brother David, and parents Francisco and Paula Oropeza.
Bertha lived in Mexico until the age of 14 and then moved with her family to Gridley in 1955. As the oldest daughter, Bertha helped raise her siblings while not only going to school, but also outworking all the men in the fields of California, Oregon, and Washington. She met her future husband, Milo, in 1962 while working at the Libby, McNeill and Libby cannery in Gridley. Bertha and Milo lived in Lompoc, Fullerton, Downey, and Yuba City before settling in Fair Oaks for the past 38 years.
Bertha’s life was filled with a deep love of family, friends, work, sports, music, gardening and collecting angels. An incredibly hard worker, the only time Bertha sat down was for Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and her beloved Giants! She also enjoyed watching her children and grandchildren participate in many sporting events and loved cooking for family and friends. Bertha enjoyed summer afternoons on the American River with gourmet sandwiches, chips and salsa, and a Bud Light while feeding the ducks. She was a world record holder with skipping rocks. 22 skips! Bertha had a feisty side as she often “spiked” chile rellenos, told funny stories, and yelled at Milo when he tried to cheat in card games.
Bertha cleaned houses with a group of girlfriends and on her own for 38 years where she developed lifelong friendships. She always loved her annual trip to Puerto Vallarta with friends and family. She also enjoyed vacationing and camping in the Redwoods, Lake Tahoe, and the coast where she appreciated the simple things in life.
Call her what you want, Berta, Bertha, honey, Birdie, Bird-Dog, She will always be loved and remembered.
Private family graveside services will be held at the Fair Oaks Cemetery.
A public Celebration of Life will be held at 12:30 pm on August 7, 2017 at the Serbian Hall located at 7777 Sunset Avenue in Fair Oaks.