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Bertha L Sanders-Smith

March 17, 1944 March 12, 2020
Bertha L Sanders-Smith
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Obituary for Bertha L Sanders-Smith

The Legacy of . . .
Bertha L. Sanders-Smith

Bertha Lee Strode was born on March 17, 1944, in Lyons, Mississippi. She was the first child and only daughter of Leona “Sugar” Hayes Strode and Shella Strode.

After finishing public school in the City of Chicago, Bertha Sanders-Smith began her nursing career after being inspired by her mother, who was also a nurse. She started working in 1960 as a nursing aide at a nursing home. Later, she was accepted into a program under the Manpower Development Training Act for Practical Nursing, graduating in 1968. Bertha began working in the emergency room at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, as a Licensed Practical Nurse. In 1974, she committed to furthering her education in nursing, obtaining an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Malcom X College. In the summer of 1975, she completed an Illinois State Board graduate course in nursing at Triton College.

In 1976, Bertha returned to the Cook County Hospital Adult Emergency Room as a Clinical Nurse I. In 1980, she was promoted to Clinical Nurse II, Head Nurse. In 1992, after years of working in the emergency room, Bertha applied for and was transferred to Ambulatory Screening Clinic within the former Fantus Health Center, which was part of Cook County Hospital. It was the largest ambulatory clinic in the United States. Bertha has been a member of the National Black Nurses Association since 1975. The West Side Medical Center of the Illinois Nurses Association awarded Bertha the Award for Staff Nurse Advocacy in September 1998.

Bertha was a spirited and lively woman – a true lover of life. She was also real-life World Traveler. In addition to travels all over the United States, during her 76 years, Bertha traveled to Aruba, China (Hong Kong and Macau), Brazil, Rome, Egypt, South Africa, Paris, London, Thailand, Venice, Greece, Holland and Switzerland – among others. On December 2, 1999, Bertha was baptized in the River Jordan, in the Holyland, at the Yardenit Baptismal Site located in northern Israel.

Bertha was inducted into the Order of the Eastern Star, Queen of Sheba Grand Chapter, in May 1999.
Life Continues . . .

Bertha became a member of Mission of Faith Baptist Church in December 2000. She was an active member of the Senior Citizens Ministry, in Sunday School, and in Bible Study.

On December 28, 2002, Bertha retired from nursing after 34 years of service and dedication. On March 18, 2003, Bertha married her life-long friend Melvin “Blody” Smith.

As we all know, our Beloved Bertha also loved her family, immediate and extended. She never missed a family reunion, whether for the Hayes Family, the Strode Family, the Smith Family, or the Collins Family. In fact, Bertha was frequently the first to register for family reunions, and she wasted no time in encouraging others to make time to attend. She understood the importance of connecting, and reconnecting, with family – reinforcing familial bonds. Bertha had an extra special place in her heart for her great nephew Paul Glenn, whom she regarded and treated as her own son. Bertha was exceptionally proud of the man that Paul has become and to have played a such a strong role in raising him.

Our Beloved Bertha bid farewell to this earthly existence on the morning of Thursday, March 12, 2020. She leaves to cherish her memory: sister-in-law, Marlene Thomas; nieces and nephews, Paul (LaDonna) Thomas, Lana Hogan, Leonard (Earnestine) Thomas, Leon (Celeste) Thomas, and Tina Thomas; fourteen great nieces and nephews; and fifteen great-great nieces and nephews; her maternal aunt and uncle, Fannie Hayes Hunt and Shannon Hayes; a large extended family across the midwest and south, and other relatives and dear friends.

Waiting for Bertha in Heaven are her mother and father, Leona and Shella Strode; her brothers Earnest George and Leonard; and her husband and best friend, Melvin Smith; and a host of other extended family members and devoted friends.

The family wishes to express their eternal gratitude to all those who have helped to care for Bertha during her convalescence, providing around-the-clock care and making sure she was never alone. Bertha’s caregivers included, but are not limited to, Clara Collins Coleman, Bernice Freeman, Ceola “Lilly” Nicholson, Gale Collins, Dana Hollerway, Georgia Smith, Donna and Victor Randle, Paul Glenn, LaToia Perkins, and Patrick Hill.

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10:00 AM 3/21/2020 10:00:00 AM
Mission of Faith Baptist Church

11321 South Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60628

Mission of Faith Baptist Church
11321 South Prairie Avenue Chicago 60628 IL
United States

Cemetery Details


Washington Memory Gardens Cemetery Final Resting Place

701 Ridge Road
Homewood, IL 60430

701 Ridge Road Homewood 60430 IL
United States

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