2009-06-13 / Obituaries

Roberta 'Bertha' Green

The Island's oldest resident, Roberta "Bertha" Cecilia Green, 93, of Harrisonville, died early morning Wednesday, June 10, 2009, at Northern Michigan Regional Hospital in Petoskey.

She was born June 2, 1916.

Known for her great passion for the Island, her strength, and her braided rugs. She was a mother of 17 children.

"She was absolutely amazing," said Mayor Margaret Doud. "She was a great lady. She made the most beautiful hand-braided rugs."

Mrs. Green often donated her rugs to the Island's Christmas Bazaar, which raises funds for the Mackinac Island Medical Center, Little Stone Church, Ste. Anne's Church, Trinity Church, and Mackinac Island Bible Church.

In later years, she would walk about three miles from her home into town every day and would then take a taxi home. In fact, said Mayor Doud, she used to walk all over the Island.

She loved the Christmas Bazaar and attended all three days of the annual event.

"That was the highlight of her Christmas season, the Christmas Bazaar," Mayor Doud said.

Mrs. Green was creative in selecting affordable fabric for the rugs, seeking material that had the right texture, pattern, and colors.

"She used to go to yard sales in St. Ignace in a taxi cab to find material," said Gwen Bagbey.

The rugs, agreed Jeannette Doud, were beautiful and in demand.

"Every bit [of a rug] was done by hand," she said with admiration.

"She was one of my friends," said Mrs. Doud, "and I always greeted her with a happy hello."

Mrs. Green also loved Tuesday nights when the community gathers to play bingo at Community Hall.

Deb Carley said family and friends called Mrs. Green Becka-Boon and her husband, Jay, was Jay-Boon, although how the nicknames originated is a mystery.

"She was a strong person, very strong," said Armin "Smi" Horn. "She was just a self-supporting soul."

Mrs. Green's love for the Island and her strong will was evident the first time Karen Lennard met her.

About nine years ago, she said, she and her husband, Gary, were riding in a taxi up the Cadotte Avenue hill with Mrs. Green and a few other passengers.

"One summer worker was complaining, saying, 'I can't wait to get off this Island,'" recalled Mrs. Lennard. "Bertha turned to her and said, 'There is a boat down in the harbor, why don't you turn around and go get on it?' I knew then, don't ever cross Bertha, and never say anything bad about Mackinac Island. She was a great old lady."

Visitation will be at the Green home Friday, June 12, after 2 p.m.

A funeral mass will be Saturday, June 13, at 1 p.m. at Ste. Anne's Catholic Church with Father Rey Garcia officiating.

Burial will be in Ste. Anne's Cemetery.

Dodson Funeral Home is assisting the family.

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