Bertha Louise Milleret Wise, 98, Lawrence, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at her home. Born in Leavenworth County on Sept. 7, 1921, she was the youngest child of Lucien (Louie) J. and Mary W. Reimer Milleret.
Mrs. Wise grew up on a dairy farm with four siblings, attended Villa Eden grade school and graduated in 1939 from Linwood High School. While attending Lawrence Business College, she met her future husband, Dick A. Wise. They were married on May 3, 1942 at the First Methodist Church in Lawrence. The couple would ultimately share 63 years on their farm in
Together, they cleared prairie hills of brush and built a family farm that produced tons of wheat, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and thousands of beef cattle before his passing in 2005. As part of America’s “Greatest Generation”, Dick and Bertha were honored at the National Agricultural Hall of Fame for their role in food production during World War II.
In 1967, the couple was recognized by both the Kansas Bankers Association and the Grassland Management Association for superior soil conservation practices. They were recognized again in 2005 by the Douglas County Conservation District for excellence in land stewardship.
Bertha enjoyed living in the country and continued gardening well into her 90s. She was a member of the United Methodist Church and the Oakridge Birthday Club for over 50 years. She volunteered for several years with the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. She was also well known for her delicious pies.
Another highlight for Bertha was in the Fall of 1990 when Michael Landon came to their home requesting permission to film on their farm. The movie, “Where Pigeons Go To Die”, was Landon’s last production for NBC and earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries.
Bertha was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Dick, son Dick Jr, son-in-law Dr. E. Philip Miller, brothers Henry, George and L.J. (Pete) Milleret and sister Marie Hallenbeck.
Surviving family members include her children, Peggy Miller (Chet Warren) of Eudora, Donna Begshaw (Steven) of Lenexa, and Dale Wise (Donna); grandchildren Kyle (Eva) Miller of East Lansing, MI, Trenton (Christy) Miller of Eudora, Brian (Kristy) Begshaw of Allen, TX, Leslie (Chuck) Hall of Crestwood, KY and Hunter (DeAnna) Wise of Overland Park; and ten great-grandchildren.
Bertha was extremely grateful to all the relatives, neighbors and friends whose company she enjoyed throughout her life. She also appreciated
her Yellow Labrador (Duchess) and her Norwegian Forest Cat (Kitty) for the 15 years of “supervision” they provided while she worked in her garden.
By her request, a private inurnment will be held at Memorial Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers or donations, her preference was that people just perform acts of kindness whenever they find a need.