Obituary of Bertha Craig Luster
Bertha Craig Luster
December 25, 1929—April 17, 2023
Bertha Craig Luster our beloved Wife, Mother, Sister, Daughter, Aunt, Grandmother and Great Grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep on Monday, April 17, 2023 at 4:00am. She was 93 years old.
Bertha was born December 25, 1929 to Monroe Craig and Alice Childress in Mesa, AZ.
She was delivered by a country doctor on her family’s dairy farm at the Southeast corner of Southern and Stapley on a crisp Christmas morning just before the cows needed to be milked. In the mornings and in the evenings her parents took her to the milking shed in her bassinet where her Mom & Dad milked their 35 cows. Bertha’s mother said her daughter would never have to milk a cow!
Bertha’s brother Paul was born in 1934. She and her family lived in Mesa and Gilbert until, at the height of the Great Depression, in 1935, they moved to Sunset Beach, California to capture much needed work, like so many others did. She grew up hearing, “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!”
Work opportunities next took them to Hartman, Arkansas in 1936 where she attended a one room school and rode with her teacher and the teacher’s son in a horse drawn buggy to the school house every day. While in Arkansas, Bertha’s little brother Paul died of pneumonia. His passing left a hole in her heart until her two sons came along many years later.
The end of 1937 found the family with new business opportunities in Portales, New Mexico. Seven-year-old Bertha tagged along with her Dad frequently, listening to him sell furniture in the family store and when he sold real estate. She was his sidekick, and they enjoyed each other’s company and their fun filled bantering.
In 1945, after the end of World War II, they moved back to Mesa where she attended Mesa High School and graduated in 1948.
Bertha graduated from Arizona State University with an Elementary Education degree and taught kindergarten for 30 years in Arizona and California. She loved teaching and took great joy in watching her little charges begin their formal learning process. Her classroom was a beehive of activity including singing, art, English grammar and handwriting. She enjoyed genuine camaraderie with all her teacher friends. They were a tremendous support to her throughout her life.
Many remember her for her kind, giving heart. Even in her waning years she had caregivers prepare special meals, buy bakery goods or honey. She would make a list of those she felt could use a little boost or pick-me-up and then her caregivers would drive her around the neighborhood making deliveries.
She was a faithful Christian all her life and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served by assignment and by continually helping and ministering to those she saw in need.
Most of all, Bertha loved her family. She was attentive, kind, caring and anxious to help each member of the family along life’s path.
Bertha was adventurous, gregarious and always ready to learn new things. When she retired from Mesa Public Schools after 30 years of teaching kindergarten, she took up piano lessons, learned how to make ceramics and started painting. If you were around Bertha very long during these productive retirement years you probably ended up with a gift of a piece of her ceramics or a painting. The family all have ceramics on display and in their cupboards and paintings from Mom, Grammy Bertha and GG covering their walls.
She found joy in collecting antiques such as Barbies (first editions in their original packaging that no one was allowed to open!), dishes, salt cellars, pickle jars (not from the supermarket), copper molds, butter churns, wall clocks and more. A true patriot, Bertha worked hard to confirm her eligibility to join the Daughters of the Revolution.
She loved her extended family and stayed in continual touch with them. She took delight in putting her family tree together and then went on to find all the family stories she could.
As a family, we express our deepest gratitude and sincerest appreciation to all of the friends and neighbors up and down the street, caregivers, nurses and doctors who ministered to and loved our Mother and Grandmother in so many immeasurable ways. Nicky Cherry and Lisa Turner and her team at Emerald Groves North ran all the daily care. Many others as well ministered to her. Sadly, you are too many to mention here. We know you. We love you.
Bertha is survived by her sons, Craig (Bertha) and Clark (Kristi), 8 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren
A viewing will be held Saturday, April 22, 2023 from 10:30-11:15am followed by the funeral at 11:30am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 3344 East McDowell Road, Mesa, AZ.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you take someone to lunch, have a chat and find out how they are doing. Forgive a wrongdoing, give a smile, give a hug and let someone cut in front of you on the freeway. Do your best to make the world a better place, just like she did.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bertha Luster, please visit Tribute Store