Bertha Weber Kraus

Bertha Weber Kraus

Bertha Weber Kraus, Centenarian

Bertha Weber Kraus

December 26, 2017

Key to the City Recipient

Bertha Weber was born to Henry and Anna Elizabeth Weber on December 26th 1917, in rural Idaho. She was the fifth of their six children. Bertha had a carefree and happy life on the farm. Each fall, Bertha worked in her father's fields harvesting potatoes, sugar beets, and beans. She would then study catalogs for items her earnings could purchase. The Weber family lived through the depression years without knowing hunger. They were able to grow all they needed on their farm. Bertha graduated from Heyburn High School, Heyburn, Idaho in 1935.

Bertha's family were friends with the Kraus family, visiting back and forth in each other's home during her childhood. Bertha remembers Benny Kraus who was three years older than her pushing her and her scooter off the roof of a shed when she was six years old. This earned Benny a good spanking. After dating for a short time she and Benny were married on September 25th, 1939. Bertha and Benny began their married life together in Burley, Idaho where they bought an eighty acre farm. They had a son Roger in 1942, followed by two daughters, Miriam in 1946, and Melanie in 1951. Around 1950 the government required farmers to use the "new pesticides" developed during the war years. Benny became allergic to these pesticides and suffered greatly. His doctors told Benny he must find a new place to live where the climate was damp to settle any pesticides in the air. The San Francisco Bay Area fit the bill perfectly.

In June of 1955, Bertha and Benny rented out their farm to a nephew and headed to Oakland, California. Having a friend living in there helped make this decision. Here they met several friends whose friendships lasted a lifetime. Benny studied and received a Real Estate license. When a Mr. White happened into the real estate office, he explained he owned a business in Castro Valley, a fast food restaurant called "Foster's Old Fashioned Freeze" plus two homes in Hayward, California. Mr. White's passion was to return to his roots as a farmer! In 1958 a trade was made along with $10,000 to be paid after Mr. White's first crop was harvested. The Kraus family moved into the larger home in Hayward and rented out the smaller. This new business proved profitable from the start. Benny purchased a second Foster's Freeze in San Mateo Cal in 1966. They bought a home in Foster City, their residence for the next nineteen years. Bertha worked alongside her husband Forster's Freeze until their retirement in 1977.

Benny suffered a heart attack in 1987. Once recovered the decision was made to sell their home and move to "The Villages", a retirement community in San Jose. It was near their daughter Melanie and her family. In "The Villages", several new friends were made. Bertha, a Christian, attended Bible Study classes which she eventually taught. Benny suffered a stroke and died in September 1993. After Benny's death Bertha spent several years traveling with another widow and dear friend Geneva. Together they flew over Volcanoes in Hawaii, went up the Mississippi on a riverboat, witnessed fall colors on the Eastern Seaboard, and took several bus trips to locations throughout California.

Life would take another turn for Bertha in 2010 when Melanie and her husband Bob who were now retired, moved to Elk Grove to be closer to two of their children. Bertha first living in "The Common's", then "Camden Springs", and now resides at Carlton Senior Living, just one mile from Melanie and Bob. Bertha has 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren who love to visit her often at the Carlton for the sweet treats she saves for them.

Bertha always loved fashion and dressed in the newest of styles. She was a lady that wore hats, gloves, and scarves, whenever she left the house. Bertha had a passion for decorating and loved filling her home with the many lovely antiques she'd acquired over the years. Bertha enjoyed entertaining friends and family. She always had some fresh baked goodies on hand to offer her guests.