Bertha May Brownlee
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01/04/1926 - 03/09/2014
Bertha May Brownlee, loving mother and grandmother entered into eternal life on March 9, 2014 surrounded by family. Bertha was born on January 4, 1926 in Grass Valley, Calif. to Joseph Walker and Eda May Sweeney. She grew up in Grass Valley, the youngest of four children. She moved to Southern California and worked at Douglas Aircraft during World War II. While living there she met and married Robert Brownlee. They returned to Nevada County to raise their four children. Bertha went to work for Placer County and moved to the Auburn area to be closer to her work. She retired from Placer County after 30 years of employment.
Bertha was known as the Iris Lady to many in the Auburn area. She is a lifetime member of the Sierra Foothills Iris Society, which she was co-founder of in 1996. Bertha also is a long time member of the American Iris Society. She has taken many awards for her ability in growing and showing her iris. She was always ready and willing to show her garden and share her knowledge. In the year 2013, a pink tall bearded iris (Bertha Brownlee) was introduced in her honor by Sacramento area hybridizer Fred Kerr. Her son Ken said it was amazing how Mom could turn a section of earth into something so beautiful and fragrant with her flowers and plants. We will miss and think of her often as we enjoy the iris in our own yards that she has shared with us. Her smiles and laughter will always be with us.
Preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, Joseph Sweeney and James Sweeney, granddaughter, Jeanette L Areia.
Bertha is survived by her sister Edith Peterson of Oakland, Calif. Her 4 children Ken (Vichi) Brownlee of Dixon, Calif, Keith (Heather) Brownlee of Garden Valley, Calif., Karen (Bill) Belding of Grass Valley, Calif. and Kathy (Tim) Braaten of Grass Valley, Calif. She has 13 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services will be held on Friday March 14, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Parkside Church of the Nazarene, 3885 Richardson Dr. Auburn, Calif. Her nephew Pastor Larry W. Crouch will be officiating at the services. Interment will be at the New Auburn District Cemetery in Auburn, Calif.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to the American Iris Society, Gary White-AIS Foundation Liaison, 701 Old Cheney Road, Lincoln, Neb. 68512 or Hospice of the Foothills, 11270 Rough and Ready Hwy., Grass Valley, Calif. 95945
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers on Mar. 12, 2014