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Lawrence J. Berta(August 17, 1916 - February 12, 2013)

Lawrence J. Berta

August 17, 1916 ~ February 12, 2013

Carmel Valley - Lawrence J. Berta died peacefully the evening of February 12, 2013. Ê

Lawrence was the youngest of 14 children, all born and raised on the historic Berta Ranch in Carmel Valley, CA. His parents, John and Carmela Berta (Morelli) were born in Switzerland's Canton Ticino, immigrated to the United States in the late 1800's and settled in Carmel Valley.Ê

Lawrence was a rancher and cowboy. In partnership with his brothers, Leo and Patrick, he managed a cow/calf operation on 20,000 acres, including three separate ranches in Monterey and San Benito Counties. Looking back, Lawrence recalled that the most enjoyable years of his life were the two decades that he spent living and working on El Rancho Cienega del Gabilan.

Lawrence had a strong appreciation for animals and nature and was a committed steward of the land and the animals in his care. He was an excellent horseman and remained fit and capable into his old age. At the age of 90, he was still able to skillfully rope and ride.Ê

Lawrence was as equally at home in solitude in the rolling hills of the Central Coast as he was surrounded by family and friends. All who spent time with Lawrence came away with a sense of his ease and authenticity. He was a colorful and captivating storyteller of personal experience and local history. He was known as a generous and honest man whose handshake was his word.Ê

Lawrence never married. True to his cowboy nature, Lawrence reflected toward the end of his life that he was content to have lived the life of a bachelor and insisted that he "would rather have a good horse than a wife." Lawrence is preceded in death by his siblings: Isadore, Candida, Attilio, Ancilla, Joseph, Sisto, Esther, Peter, Helena, Raphael, Leo, Patrick and Anne. He is survived by his nieces and nephews: Shirley Francioni, Carol Martella, Clare Juster, Jim Berta, Patricia Hall, Dolores Ransom, Tim Berta, Ray Berta, Maureen Roscorla, Liana Olson, David Berta and Don Berta, as well as numerous grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.Ê

Lawrence's family is very grateful for the kindness and attention given to him during the last chapter of his life by those that attended to his needs, including Irene Jackson, Rocio Conde, Patty Ortiz, Fan Snell, and Kathleen Voris, all of the extraordinary Carmel Villa. Thank you Dr. Jeffery Rice for helping to keep Lawrence in pretty good shape these last few years. Gratitude also goes to Shannon Carnazzo RN and Jillian Pinney RN of Community Hospital's Hospice of the Central Coast for the compassionate care that they provided at the very end of Lawrence's life.

Visitation will be held February 22, 2013 from 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Carmel Valley, followed by the Meditation of the Rosary. A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Burial will take place at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Salinas, CA the following day, February 23, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

Published in The Monterey Herald on Feb. 19, 2013
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