Obituary of Bertha Catherine Van Rooyen Nonenbacher
BERTHA CATHERINE VAN ROOYEN NONENBACHER Age 98, on October 20, 2011. Born in New York City, September 1, 1913. She is predeceased by her parents, Herman and Theresa (Caccia) Van Rooyen; her infant sisters, Helen and Theresa; her younger sister Theresa Helen (Caridi); her husband, Joseph Nonenbacher, and her son-in-law, J. Peter Nilson, M.D.; survived by her beloved daughter, Joan Nonenbacher Nilson; several cousins; many dear friends, particularly those involved in her care: Arlene Crown, Larry Birochick, Donna Reed and Jody Moore, and her "guardian" cat, Andre. With special thanks to her PCP, Robert G. Edwards, M.D. and home health nurse, LaVerne Byzek, R.N., and gratitude to all the staff of the Family Hospice and Palliative Care for Bertha's care in her last days. A graduate of Hunter College High School and Hunter College, Bertha was a double major in geology and pedagogy. Initially involved in the war effort as a cartographer with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey mapping North Africa in the Allied fight against Rommel's forces, she transferred to the Manhattan Project as a geological analyst in the search for sources of uranium for the atom bomb. After WW II, she married Joseph, the love of her life, who died in 1961. She interrupted her career at Anaconda Copper Co. to be a stay-at-home mom. She later became a NYC Public School teacher, and taught first and second grade for more than 20 years. She moved to Pittsburgh in 1983 to be with her recently widowed daughter. Bertha was very active in the Pittsburgh Opera Auxiliary and The Twentieth Century Club (of which she was a devoted member for 25 years), working diligently for both organizations in many different capacities. An accomplished embroiderer, she attended many needlepoint seminars, including those offered by the Embroiderers' Guild of America. When macular degeneration abruptly ended her ability to stitch, she accepted her blindness with exquisite grace, dignity and courage. She leaves her daughter a great legacy of canvases, both finished and unfinished. Bertha also loved to travel, and organized many unique trips for family and friends. She leaves all who knew her a great wealth of memories and experiences. A phenomenal woman, she will be sorely missed and lovingly remembered. In keeping with her wishes, there will be no visitation. Arrangements by THOMAS L. NIED FUNERAL HOME. Funeral Mass and Memorial Service at Epiphany Catholic Church Uptown, on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 10:00 a.m. A reception will follow. Private interment. Memorial contributions can be made to the Twentieth Century Club Minerva I Fund, (4201 Bigelow Blvd., Pgh. 15213), or charity of your choice .