Bertha Viola Brent – 1996 Inductee

A lifetime of caring for others rightfully earned Bertha Brent the title of “Good Samaritan” in the Alton community.  Her contributions to the health care and spiritual formation of those around her endeared her to young and old alike.

Earl and Caroline (Dieckman) Brent lived in Hawkeye Township when their daughter Bertha was born after the turn of the century on May 2, 1900.  When she reached school age Bertha attended Prairie Home School, District 120, located in Hawkeye Township. Doctor Jasper Johnson bought the Alton medical practice of Doctor Porter Brown in 1923.  When he needed an assistant a few years later, Bertha seemed a natural choice, as she had been working and caring for others in the area.  She moved to Alton and made it her permanent home.

In those days house calls were the norm, and Bertha often accompanied Dr. Johnson on these at all hours of the day and night.  Home deliveries were another common practice back then, and Bertha helped to bring into the world many that are currently living in 1996.

Dr. Johnson was a highly skilled physician for his time.  Bertha’s capable assistance eased the way for him to deal with life and death situations without the benefits of hospitals and modem technology as we know it today.  Her work as a nurse was hard and demanding at times, but Bertha accepted these challenges as an opportunity to serve others.  When Bertha’s parents retired from farming in 1933, they moved to town to live with her.  As their health failed she cheerfully cared for them until the time of their deaths.  After Dr. Johnson’s death in 1942, Bertha continued to be of service to the medical profession.  she assisted tree additional physicians, Doctors Cross and Goshorn in Alton and Wonderlich in Osbome.

Apart from her busy work schedule, Bertha made time to teach a children’s Sunday School class for many years.  Her spirituality also included a love of nature.  Birds flocked to her backyard for food she provided in the winters, and large flower gardens were tended by Bertha in the summers.

In later years Bertha was pleased many times to have individuals come up to her and introduce themselves as someone she had helped to deliver at birth.

After caring for others for so many years Bertha finally had to move to a place of care for herself.  Her remaining years were spent at the Parkview Care Center in Osborne, Kansas, where she passed away on June 17, 1997, and was laid to rest in the Sumner Cemetery near Alton.

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