Alberta "Berta" Kallaus died April 3, 2018, 11 days short of her 88th birthday, at Oaknoll Retirement Residence in Iowa City following a short illness.
Visitation will be held Sunday, April 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Lensing Funeral Service in Iowa City. A rosary will begin at 6 p.m. Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Monday, April 9, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Iowa City, with a brunch provided in the church basement immediately following the funeral. Burial will follow in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Iowa City. Instead of flowers and plants, memorials may be directed to the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Iowa City Hospice or the Oaknoll Music Therapy Program.
Berta was born on April 14, 1930, the youngest child of Irvin John Jacob Sinn, M.D., and Elizabeth Garrigan Sinn. She grew up in Williamsburg, Iowa, graduating from Williamsburg High School in 1947. After high school, she attended Marycrest College in Davenport but was greatly attracted to nursing as a member of a medical family and entered Mercy Hospital's nursing program in Iowa City, where she met her nursing classmate and lifelong friend, Joan "Hotie" Gilpin. She completed her registered nursing program in 1951. After graduation, she was employed by Mercy Hospital as a nurse in the operating room for 20 years and later as a nurse in Dr. Kammermeyer's allergy practice.
On July 25, 1953, Berta was married to Norman Kallaus of Richmond, Iowa, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Williamsburg. They began their married life in Iowa City where Norm was a member of the University of Iowa's business faculty. Following the birth of their three daughters, Berta and Norm moved to Tempe, Ariz., where Norm joined the ASU faculty. Next, challenging work caused them to move to the New York area, where Norm joined the McGraw-Hill editorial staff. Their move back home to Iowa City and family was their last major move. During this time, Berta and Norm, with their daughters, enjoyed camper travel throughout the U.S. and several enjoyable trips to Europe.
Berta had many, many talents. She was a wonderful cook and baker. Every summer, she canned fruit and vegetables, homemade sauces, jam and jellies for her family. Despite the loss of half her vision, she was a beautiful seamstress she crocheted and knitted and was skilled at caning chairs. At the same time as a member of the Circle of Friends, a quilting group, she hand-quilted keepsake wall hangings and quilts that her family and friends will treasure for years to come. In her later years, she and her husband enjoyed playing the ukulele.
Berta had a strong work ethic and a smile for everyone. For this reason, very early in her life her mother called her Sunshine, so aptly describing her lifelong personality.
Most notably, Berta will be remembered as a caregiver. Whether caring for patients in the operating room or doctor's office, or providing end-of-life care to family and friends, Berta was a compassionate, gentle nurse. But most importantly, Berta was a loving wife, mother and grandmother who cherished her family and her many friends.
Berta is survived by her husband of 65 years, Norm; her three daughters and their husbands, Anne Wallace (William Gay) of Iowa City; Margaret "Meg" Thompson (Brad) of Aspen, Colo.; and Clare Phillips (Jeff) of Berkeley Springs, W.Va.; and her beloved grandchildren, Jacob Wallace (Alyssa Rainbolt) of Lander, Wyo., Daniel Wallace (Carolyn "Dazi") of Iowa City and Hanna Wallace of Iowa City. In addition, she is survived by a nephew, John Wolters (Cher) of San Antonio, and a niece, Beth Wolters Hecimovich (Paul) of Waxhaw, N.C., and their respective families. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Robert Sinn; and her sister, Dolores Ann Wolters.
Berta's family would like to thank the Oaknoll nurses in assisted living and short-term care as well as the entire staff of Oaknoll for their compassionate care and support of Berta and her family. Thanks to Dr. Mary Gwen Beck for many years of medical care and guidance. And lastly, thanks to Iowa City Hospice for providing additional support to Berta and her family in these past two weeks.