1915 ~ 2020
b. March 10, 1915, Bountiful, Utah
d. July 30, 2020, Newberg, Oregon
105 years of exemplary life lived as an adventure.
Berniece Ashdown Andersen Weber was an author, a scientific illustrator, a landscape architect, an architectural designer, a botanist, an environmentalist, a supreme friend, and extraordinary member of her extended family. She successfully raised six children under very difficult circumstances and contributed to the upbringing and happiness of many other young people, all the while building a valued network of colleagues, clients, and friends.
Berniece had a gift for looking beneath the surface, for discovering new truths, for appreciating and valuing, and finding delight everywhere. She saw little point in doing things the same way if there was a better way. She championed the notion of contributing something to the world, and modeled that constantly. She was always learning, always enthusiastically working on something. She valued people, found their best qualities, and celebrated them.
She had what she described as the perfect childhood, in a loving and intellectually stimulating family in Bountiful Utah, where she enjoyed a large extended family. Patty Bartlett Sessions (her second great grandmother) had been the midwife/nurse in the first regular company of Mormon pioneers to settle Utah, Perrigrine Session (her great grandfather) settled Bountiful, and the Boultons and Ashdowns came to Utah not long after. Cousins were plentiful. She attended Stoker School, and then, because of its pre-engineering classes, went to West High School in Salt Lake City. At age 15, she designed a major remodel of the family home, providing complete floor plans, specifications and a scale model to the astonished builder.
In an age when few women attended college, Berniece triple majored in Botany, Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Utah State Agricultural College, which later became Utah State University. She transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, to continue her studies, but dropped out of Berkeley to accept a position at the largest architectural firm in California, as personal assistant to the legendary Mark Roy Daniels.
She later moved to Hollywood, where she freelanced, worked at California Arts and Architecture, and was a contributing editor with a byline in Landscape Magazine.
Berniece married Dr. E. Milton Andersen November 20, 1040. The couple lived in Ithaca, New York; Homestead, Florida; Kingston, Rhode Island; and Logan, Utah where Berniece was eventually Assistant Curator of the Intermountain Herbarium. She is author and illustrator of popular field guides: A Guide to Mountain Flowers, Mountain Plants of Northeastern Utah, Desert Plants of Utah, Weeds of Utah, and Uses of Native Plants in Early Mormon Country. The guides are still found online, some in updated versions.
The couple had six children: James M. Andersen (Dixie), Katherine A. Smith, Richard L. Andersen (Melody), Dr. Stephen O. Andersen (Janet), Marilyn A. Reidman (David), and G. Paul Andersen (Nancy).
Berniece remarried in 1972 to Gordon Emerson Weber of Ontario, Canada. They lived in Paris, Ontario and Victoria, B.C., Canada. After Gordon's death, Berniece moved to an ocean-front house in Little Whale Cove, Depoe Bay, Oregon. She spent her last days in Newberg, Oregon, near three of her children-James, Richard and Marilyn-and their families.
Berniece was preceded in death by her first and second husbands; her parents; her siblings, Evelyn (Melvin Richards), Donna, Don (Theresa Marie Hill), Laura Marjorie (Reid Porter Olsen), Ray (Florence L. Johnson, Ramona G. Burch), Jeraldean (Robert Christensen); and nephews and niece, Eugene Melvin Richards, Ray Richard Ashdown and Julia Lorraine Ashdown. She is survived by her 6 children, 12 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.
There will be no service at this time. An online memorial is being planned.
For more information, contact Katherine Andersen Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Published in The Salt Lake Tribune on Sep. 6, 2020.