Habitat Blog

Women Build: Bertha

Bertha never imagined herself attending a high school basketball game at 80 years old. As someone with four generations of her family nearby, she gets roped into all kinds of fun and surprising activities.


Photography by Sean Cope Pictures

It all started when Bertha’s mom dropped anchor in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco almost 50 years ago. She purchased a house and created long-term stability for her children and grandchildren, as well as the great-grandchildren to come.

Family has always been the most important thing to Bertha. She put everything into raising her two daughters. She found jobs that made it convenient to be involved in their schoolwork and activities. Saturday mornings were for track meets. Evenings were for choir performances.

When her daughters left home for college and careers of their own, Bertha retired from UCSF and focused her attention on caring for her aging mother.


“The strongest thing I did was raise my two daughters. Period.”

They spent their days together at home. Bertha’s mom often sat by the window and waved at school children as they walked by. They enjoyed dinners with Bertha’s grandson, who loved his great-grandmother dearly. Both Bertha and her grandson cherish those memories still today.

Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco staff first met Bertha’s family several years ago when we repaired her fence and installed safety rails around her house.

This month, her house was the very first in San Francisco to receive a Habitat roof repair. Bertha’s family will continue to create memories and care for one other in their home for years under their new roof.


“I didn’t do anything extraordinary. I just did what I had to do, and I did it with a smile.”

This May, Habitat Greater San Francisco celebrated a month-long Women Build campaign to build and repair more homes for women who lead just like Bertha. If you didn’t get a chance to join the campaign, you can still make a donation! Thank you for your help to make sure more local families like Bertha’s are able to stay in the Bay Area.

Categories: Women Build


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