BETHEL – Bertha Cross Foster, 94, died peacefully at her home in Bethel on March 25.

She was born Bertha Pearl Cross to Charles and Pearl Forrestal Cross. The Cross family was one of the early settlers of Bethel. The Forrestals were from Colebrook, N.H. Her mother died when she was 2-years-old. Her father thought he could raise her two brothers, Dennis and Albert, but felt his daughter needed a woman’s influence. He asked his sister Lulu Cross Eames (Bethel) to raise Bertha. Lulu was delighted as she did not have a daughter and wanted one very much. She grew up on Paradise Hill on the family farm without central heat or indoor plumbing.

Her father, a blacksmith and logger in Bethel, was a very active person in her life. She would tell stories of his taking her to Colebrook, N.H., through Dixville Notch in his Model-T. The roads were dirt and there were no guard rails. Her father would ask her to stand in the seat and look out the back window. Her duty was to tell him when any other car was getting close. If a car was closing in, he would speed up as he wanted to be ahead of all others. Since the roads were scary, she said she often would not tell him about cars getting close.

She graduated from Gould Academy and, like many of her classmates, wanted to experience more of the world than Bethel held. Along with five other women who graduated in her class, she traveled up and down the East coast for eight years. They would wait tables at resorts in the South during the winter and then return North as the warm weather came to wait tables. Occasionally they would work at the Bethel Inn in the summer, but more often than not, they went to other locations – The Poconos, The Catskills, other resort areas – to experience those areas.

They lived this life for a number of years. Slowly but surely each of the women met and married men, and the group disbanded. She met her husband-to-be Borden Foster in Portland, and they married in 1942. Borden was a career military man, and they traveled extensively for many years until his retirement. He retired several times from the military (he was recalled to teach specialized training several times). Each time he retired, they returned to Bethel to live. Frequently she would return to work at the Bethel Inn when they returned. When he retired permanently, they returned to Bethel to live in 1971. He died in 1990.

She lived independently, continuing to drive, until her death. She was an avid reader and her trip to the Bethel Library was a weekly occurrence. For many years, she was an avid gardener. When the work of maintaining a garden became too taxing, she had small container gardens on her porch.

Animals were always a part of her life – she had small dogs much of her life and many people remember her walking her pug daily. She walked all her life for enjoyment. She had her beloved cat, Susie, as her companion at the time of her death.

She is survived by her daughter, Betsey of Greenwood; her much-adored granddaughter; Mercedes Foster-Dougherty of Windham; a niece, Shirley DeGeorge of Middletown, N.Y.; a nephew. Larry Cross of North Conway, N.H.; and a number of cousins in Randolph and Gorham, N.H.

She was predeceased by her husband; and her two brothers, Albert and Dennis Cross.

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