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Mary Flora Berntsen
Southern Shores – Mary Flora Berntsen passed away with family present, on August 9th, 2014 at her home in Southern Shores, NC. “Miss Mary” was born in Staten Island, NY. in 1922. She graduated Port Richmond High School and took a job in the “City” as a telephone operator. She married Carl M. Berntsen (who lived just across the small park from her) in 1942. Mary’s life with Carl was a journey that was based on a love of family, a thirst for knowledge and a sense of adventure (or perhaps a tolerance for it) that led to a life well lived, far from the familiar trappings of Gotham.
Mary and Carl’s 71st anniversary was celebrated in November of 2013. Their journey together began with a move from NY to Idaho to begin Carl’s college and professional career. The next stop was McKenzie Bridge OR where they had their first son, Keith in 1950, then Otis OR, Corvallis OR, and Bend OR where they had their second son Geoffrey in 1960. While carrying Geoff, Mary completed her Bachelor’s degree and received her teaching credentials. The next stop for the family was Virginia where Mary taught at the local high school (which Keith attended and completed ALL homework for his Mother’s class). Other stops included Colorado, Minnesota, back to Virginia and finally to North Carolina for a long, happy and productive retirement.
During this retirement phase of their life, Mary dedicated her considerable energies toward helping those around her. She was instrumental in getting a local “Meals on Wheels” rolling in the Southern Shores area. She was honored by the Governor of North Carolina for her tireless efforts initiating and sustaining a literacy program that served her home and surrounding counties. That program continues today at the College of the Albemarle in Manteo. She worked with volunteers at Duck Methodist Church and Kitty Hawk Kites to develop a “Kite Day” for challenged adults. She would often join Carl on the water for shrimping, oystering, running a string of crab pots or helping out with a Coast Guard Auxiliary function. She was known for her generous and caring way as well as her infinite energy. She defined the “Greatest Generation”, and she will be missed.
Surviving Mary is her husband, Carl Berntsen, two sons, Keith and Geoff with wife Lisa and two grandchildren, Christian and Jameson, and Mary’s God daughter Kim Paduano and her family.
In lieu of flowers it is requested by the family that donations be made to the Literacy Program Mary helped get off the ground. Contact Lynn Blackburn : 252.216.7773
There will be an Open House on Monday, Aug. 18 from 4pm to 6pm at 141 W. Holly Trail in Southern Shores
Condolences to the family may be expressed via the on-line register at www.gallopfuneralservices.com. Gallop Funeral Services, Inc. was entrusted with arrangements.