We are overwhelmed with sadness at the death of our beautiful, talented mother, Bertella Katherine Raph, on October 9, 2020, in her lovely home in Fifty Lakes.
Bertella was the 4th of 8 children, the second daughter, born to Henry and Blanche Goldenstein in Donnelly, Minnesota on February 18, 1932. Her family moved to Manhattan Beach when Bertella was a child where they ran the village grocery store and Post Office. Her father later farmed, and her mother exclusively ran the Post Office. Bertella ultimately became her assistant and upon her mother’s retirement took over as head Postmaster for 25 years, until her retirement in 1992.
Being a Postmaster was only one of the many hats she wore throughout her lifetime. Married and a mother at 16, she and her husband, Donald Raph raised 9 children. They grew huge vegetable gardens and she spent her summers preserving the produce, in addition to raising chickens, cows and pigs. She helped Dad run the Manhattan Beach “Minnow Shack” for years, and she cleaned many homes in the community to a standard not easily found today. She helped stretch and flesh the animal pelts Dad brought home from his traplines, but she never owned a fur coat! She was an expert seamstress; sewing and crocheting many of her children’s clothes.
Bertella was never idle. She loved to sing and, as a girl, taught herself to play the piano. In her retirement she became an expert quilter. Her children’s, grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s beds are adorned with her many beautiful creations. Her artistry was apparent not only in her quilting and various craftwork, but also in the extensive beautiful flower gardens she grew each year. She loved those summer days, watering, weeding, and enjoying the gardens she created.
When our father, her love of over 60 years, passed away in 2008, Mom, true to her strong and independent nature, surprised us all when she moved from the house they built, to a new, smaller house she could handle on her own on an adjacent piece of their property. She loved her years there where she watched the wildlife and birds as she read, solved sudoku and crossword puzzles and enjoyed her sunny, warm living room, even on the coldest winter days.
Bertella will be greatly missed by her sisters, Marion Luukinen, of Wadena and Lorna Houde of Castle Rock, Colorado. She was predeceased by her 4 brothers, Kenny, Goldie, Junior and Orlen.
Bertella’s children, Terry Fornell (Gregg), Lucy Harrison (Jim), Laurie MacInnes (Fred), Colleen Sheehan (Tom), Danny, Kelly (Ann), Blair (Tammy), Tracy (Danette), Holly Kline (Joel) and her 21 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren will miss her friendship, encouragement and love, as well as the many festive holiday and Sunday dinners that she so generously hosted all these years. And, those killer apple pies!
Thank you to the doctors, nurses, and staff of Essentia Health, as well as Amber and Jan of Good Samaritan Hospice for your expert care and support during a very difficult time.
Mom, your strength was an example to us all.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy 4-7
Private family services will be held.