Obituaries

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1933 - 2024

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Bertha Kate Wilbern (Burton) was born on February 13, 1933, in Leslie, Georgia to Carrie Lee Marion (Burton). Bertha Kate was raised along with her cousins by her grandparents, Riscoe and Henry Burton. She loved sports and played basketball in school. If you asked who her favorite team was, she would say whoever was winning. Bertha Kate was joined in matrimony to Willie Wilbern on March 3, 1956, in Atlanta, Georgia. Bertha and Willie settled in the Perry Homes and in College Park while living in Atlanta. She was also employed at a poultry factory in Atlanta before relocating to Rochester, New York in 1963, with her seven children.

In Rochester, New York Bertha Kate became a Monroe County daycare provider and a housekeeper for over 25 years. Bertha Kate was also a foster care mother and mother to many. Additionally, she was a seamstress and expert gardener. She had the best yard in the neighborhood according to her neighbors.

Bertha Kate dedicated her life to Jehovah in 1966 and became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She faithfully served Jehovah for over 58 years, and she was an auxiliary pioneer annually.

Bertha Kate was a phenomenal cook and prepared meals for weddings, restaurants, and events. She would feed anyone that came to her home and care for the sick. Bertha Kate loved music and caring for her grandchildren, who affectionately called her “momma.” Her favorite things to do included going to the public market and harvesting vegetables from local farmers. Bertha Kate was known in the community as a firm, direct, honest woman. Everyone knew that she had a way with words. Bertha Kate often said, “Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no.”

Bertha Kate passed peacefully in her home on February 7, 2024, surrounded by loved ones. She was preceded in death by her husband, Willie Wilbern, Sr.; her son Willie Wilbern, Jr.; her mother Carrie Lee Marion (Abe, Sr.); brother Abe Marion, Jr.; and grandchildren Brian Bynoe, Jr. and Toya Wilbern Woods.

Bertha Kate leaves to cherish her memories: Six children; Dee Rivers; Flora Wilbern; David Wilbern (Brenda); Richard Wilbern; and Gwendolyn Yvonne Haywood (Ronald) all of Rochester, NY; also Violet Denise Givens (Teddy) of Fredericksburg, VA; sister Joanne Marion of Rochester, NY; and sister-in-law Patsy Marion of Rochester, NY.

Additionally, Bertha Kate leaves to cherish her memories: 16 grandchildren including Katrina Wilbern-Bynoe, who was raised as one of her daughters; Shawn Rivers (Regan); Nicole Samuels (Nathanele); Andrea Johnson; Keyana Smith (Tyrone); Eboni Hamilton (Lamont); Ronald Haywood, Jr.; Rayard Wilbern; David Wilbern, Jr.; Brandi McKnight (Andre); Ashley Wilbern; Quinton Givens (Destiny); Clishay Lovejoy; Naomi Givens; Chelsey Wilbern; and Throne Wilbern.

Bertha Kate also leaves to grieve her loss, 25 great grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, close cousins, and special friends.

Family and friends are invited to call on Thursday, February 15th from 5-8 PM at Miller Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc., 3325 Winton Road South. Her homegoing service will be held on Friday, February 16th at 10AM in the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witness, 1227 Calkins Road, Henrietta.

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