Bertha Nell Dickerson Dayton of Burnet passed away on January 8, 2020, from complications due to a fall. She was born June 7, 1933 in Bertram, Texas to Carl and Diddie Dickerson where she grew up with her older brother, CW, and her younger sister, Martha. Bertha was well known to everyone in Bertram with many residents being related to her. She enjoyed socializing and hanging out with her many friends while she attended Bertram schools, and had kept up over the years with the remaining members of her graduating class.
After graduating from Bertram High School, Bertha attended Nixon Clay Business School in Austin. Then she married Harold Dayton on December 17, 1950 and they moved to Burnet to start their married life. They had two children, Dr. Gene Dayton and Priscilla Dayton Wisnewski. Bertha and Harold had recently celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. In 1964 Bertha decided that she wanted to attend college to become an elementary school teacher. For the next 3 ½ years she commuted to Georgetown to attend Southwestern University. She loved learning and getting to know all the teachers and students in her classes. Although she was older than most of the other students, that never bothered her and she became friends with all.
Bertha graduated with a degree in elementary education in 1968 and began teaching first grade in Burnet Elementary School. She loved being able to introduce the joys of reading and learning to all her students. She was always quick with a song or a rhyme to help them remember the letter sounds and how to write their ABC’s. Her enthusiasm for teaching motivated a few of her students to eventually become teachers themselves. She was always so proud when a former student would come up to her and tell her that she was “one of the best teachers that they ever had.”
Bertha was an active member of First United Methodist Church in Burnet since she and Harold moved there. She also was an active member in the Burnet Pen Chat Club, Eastern Star, and had volunteered for 34 years at Seton Highland Lakes Hospital in their gift shop and later at their information desk. Bertha loved meeting new people and greeting old friends.
One sad event for Bertha and Harold was the sudden death of their son, Gene, who died in 1981. He did leave a wonderful daughter, Mandi Marie, who became the apple of both of their eyes. Now Mandi is grown and married to Sean Murphy and they live in Austin. Mandi gave them 3 beautiful great-grandchildren, Cole, Cate, and Chet.
Priscilla married Dave Wisnewski and they live in Frisco, Texas. They have two wonderful sons, Mark who lives in Irving, and Matt who lives in Houston. All three grandchildren called their grandparents often and spent every holiday with them.
Bertha had a large extended family that she loved dearly including her sister Martha Lester and her husband Travis; former daughter-in-law Cathy Smith Peters and her husband Walt and their son David; her brother-in-law Dr. Billy Charles Dayton and his wife Lucille; and many wonderful nieces, nephews, and cousins. Bertha always had family at the top of her list of priorities and loved seeing and hearing from all of them.
Bertha and Harold both took early retirement and continued their passion for traveling. They had visited all 50 states, especially enjoying the mountains of Colorado, the shows in Branson, and sites in Ruidoso. They took several European trips visiting numerous countries from Great Britain to Russia. They also toured Egypt and the Holy Land.
Bertha is preceded in death by her son, Dr. Gene Dayton, her parents Diddie and Carl Dickerson, her brother and sister-in-law CW and Satute Dickerson, and her three infant siblings.
Bertha will be sorely missed by all her family and friends. Her beaming smile and sweet hugs were known by all. A Celebration of Life will be conducted on Saturday, January 25 at First United Methodist Church of Burnet. Visitation will be at 10:30 am and the celebration will begin at 11:00 am. Everyone is invited to come and share their friendship and stories about Bertha.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the First United Methodist Church of Burnet can be made in Bertha’s memory.
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