Berk, Harriet Fern

Date of Birth

May 6, 1916

Date of Death

February 7, 2021

Berk, Harriet Fern was born May 6, 1916 in Rockford, Illinois and passed away Feb 7, 2021 in Santa Barbara, CA. She was the only child of Grace Irene Thomas and James Robert Hall. The family moved from Illinois to California when Harriet was 13. They ran an auto court in Duarte where she worked pumping gas. Harriet’s father got her, her very own car to drive to school.

She was very proud of her car and enjoyed driving. Later the family moved to Santa Monica where she attended and graduated from Santa Monica High School. She met her husband Richard Marshall Berk and they were married in 1938. They lived in Santa Monica and worked at Douglas Aircraft Company during the war. Later she was a bookkeeper at the high school. They had two daughters. She loved to sew; making adorable pinafore dresses for her two girls. The family enjoyed camping in their trailer; taking many trips. They camped every Thanksgiving for 52 years with extended family.
Harriet loved driving and her husband “let her” drive while he study the maps and navigated their trips. Harriet enjoyed entertaining and often had family and friends at the house for picnics and dinners. She was very active in the Baptist church in Santa Monica and supported their church bazaar with many hand made items.

In 1983, after many years of retirement in Santa Monica, Harriet and Richard moved to Valle Verde Retirement Community in Santa Barbara. They could often be seen riding their bikes around the campus. She continued to entertain and made many new friends. She also continued to pursue her love of quilting; making hundreds of quilts for family, friends, babies and charitable causes. She helped to start the La Tienda thrift store, which raised money for many campus projects. She continued to attend church and called bingo for the other residents. Harriet was resilient. At 100, she fell and broke her neck eventually recovering and moving to The Grove. Here she died of old age at age 104. While not the oldest, she is the resident who has lived at Valle Verde the longest.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard, of 69 years and her parents. She is survived by her two daughters, Sandra Lynn Berk and Carol Lee Boyce, and one granddaughter Bonnie Lee Boyce (John Malinzak) and their three grown children Matthew, Jared and Kelsey.

Harriet was an inspiration to all that knew her. She had a wonderful sense of humor. She was loving, generous, creative and motivating. She will be dearly missed by her loving family and friends.


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