I searched some more and stumbled across Halstead's mortuary records from that time frame - there she was! Once again I read that she died in Klamath Falls, Oregon but there were no clues as to the cause of death or why she was in Klamath Falls. The records showed that Bertha's residence was the Maryland Hotel in San Francisco. She lived in a hotel?
I also learned that the grand total to prepare Bertha for interment was $220.98! That was broken down as:
- Preservation and preparation of remains and professional services - $75
- Casket coach and limousine - $36
- Flower car - $15
- Cremation - $60
- Examiner, Newspaper, Call to out of town papers - $32.98
- County taxes - $2
The next time I talked to my mom on the phone, I told her about my findings and about my curiosity as to what Bertha was doing in Klamath Falls. "That's easy" she said. WHAT? You know? In retrospect it was stupid of me not to ask her in the first place because Bertha died about a month before my parents were married so, of course, she would have known what happened. Here's the story.....
Bertha was living at the Maryland Hotel in San Francisco after Abe died. She and my grandparents (Bertha's daughter, Loraine, and her husband, Sig Levy) set out by train from San Francisco headed toward Victoria, Canada for vacation. The first night on the train, Bertha died of an apparent heart attack. The train conductor wanted to stop the train in the middle of nowhere and let my grandparents out with the body. Thankfully, my grandfather convinced them to get them to the next town which was, in fact, Klamath Falls. Even though all the records show that Bertha died in Klamath Falls, she may have actually died in California. After a brief stay in Klamath Falls, Loraine and Sig got Bertha's body back on a train and headed south to San Francisco for interment at Hills of Eternity.
My mother remembers visiting with Birdie a few days before their vacation and Birdie was insistent that my mother take some little dessert plates she had as a wedding gift. Mom suggested that she wait and get the plates after they returned and when they were all together for her wedding. After Birdie's death she was given the plates and, I believe, she still has them today. But she's convinced that Birdie had a premonition that they would never be together again and that she wanted to ensure my parents had the plates that were, obviously, so special to her.
This story has taught me to always ask questions and then when you think you can't ask anymore, ask again. You never know when the question you ask will jog a new memory.
Bertha is interred with Abe in Hills of Eternity Cemetery. Bertha's Memorial