Reflections of Life
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Mrs. Bertha Hightower Barnes
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”
Devoted wife, nurturing aunt, and forever friend, Bertha Hightower Barnes, affectionately known as the baby girl of the twelve, earned her eternal wings on Sunday, August 4, 2019 surrounded by family and friends in her home at The Waterford at Virginia Beach. A Norfolk native, Bertha, at an early age, received Christ and enjoyed the blessing of being reared by her parents in a Christian home. It was there that she developed her love for singing as she and her sisters sang in the church choir and often entertained themselves singing at home. Little did she know then that her passion to sing would bless her soul as she would become an active member in the church choir for over 45 years.
Bertha was a proud graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, Virginia State (College) University and she later received her Master’s Degree in Health and Physical Education from New York University in New York City. Her love of education became a foundation for the many years of service she provided to Norfolk Public Schools. Beginning her teaching career in her early 20s afforded her the recognition as the “ever so glamorous” Miss Hightower who taught generations of students (including family members) at Ruffner Junior High School and Granby Junior High School.
What made Bertha unique was her talent to light up the room with her effervescent smile, quick wit, and her distinctive sense of fashion and flair. Shortly after moving to The Waterford, she was tagged with the nickname Miss Bougie as she was known to her favorites. She never met a stranger and could give you that look as though she was sizing you up in just a moment. However, beneath her witty demeanor, her heart of gold would bless you over and over again … just because!
While education was at the top of Bertha’s list of priorities, she was a savvy business woman. This unique trait was shared with her church home, First Church of Christ Holiness, USA where she enjoyed countless years as a member and Chair of the Trustee Ministry. She took her job seriously and was known to stay until every penny was counted and every record checked and balanced.
You could describe her as a lifelong learner because she excelled in all areas of her professional and spiritual life. She pursued a professional career and was often described as the consummate teacher. However, she enjoyed the countless years of study as an avid bible scholar and tried not to miss Sunday School, Prayer Meetings, or her National Church Convention. She instilled a sense of value, drive, and commitment in her nieces and nephews to prepare themselves academically, to know the Lord, and to follow their dreams and let the sky be the limit.
Bertha’s keen eye for style and fabulous was undeniable. Her home could have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens. Always immaculate and a place for everything and everything in its place. This same pattern could also be seen in her impeccable wardrobe as many will remember that she made the newspaper as one of the first shoppers at Nordstrom on opening day and could be seen holding up a shoe ~ which just happened to be one of her many fashion fetishes.
Pre-deceased by her loving husband, Lewis Fleetwood Barnes, she leaves to mourn and celebrate her awesome life and nurturing spirit, dedicated caregivers Pamela, Octavia, Jackie, Dawn, and devoted nieces, nephews, stepson, great nieces and nephews, a great-great nephew and a host of loving and devoted family members and lifelong friends.
God blessed us with your love …
Devoted wife, Nurturing aunt, and Forever friend …
You will be forever missed!