1923 – 2015

SOUTH PARIS — Bertha “Bess” Francis (Alberi) Kosalka, 91, of South Paris died peacefully on Sunday, Sept. 27, at Market Square Health Care Center after suffering a massive stroke earlier in the week.

She was born Nov. 21, 1923, in Breathitt County, Ky., to Ambrose and Eliza Francis. She and her siblings were moved by train to Maine to live with their Aunt Bertha and her husband, Harry Bell, after the children became orphaned when their mother died of an infection shortly after giving birth to twins and their father, a sheriff, was shot while trying to arbitrate a family feud in the Appalachians.

Bertha was first married to Waino Alberi. She married her second husband, Richard Kosalka, on Oct. 31, 1962.

Bertha was the mother of three children, James Alberi, Wayne Alberi and Steven Alberi. She was also grandmother to six and great-grandmother of nine. She so loved visiting with them all.

She worked at Goodwin’s Dairy in South Paris as a waitress for several years, where she enjoyed talking with her customers. She and her husband lived in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Port St. Lucie, Fla., for the past several years, along with her beloved cats, where her husband had a construction company. They also owned and operated a restaurant together.


Bertha moved back to Maine shortly after the death of her husband on Oct. 27, 2009. The past three years were spent in her apartment at the Andrews House at Market Square. She spent many happy hours there, having coffee, playing bingo and chatting with all of her friends on her floor. Thank you all for your friendship. It meant the world to her.

She is survived by her sons, James Alberi and wife, Marguerite, Wayne Alan Alberi and wife, Sandy, and Steven Alberi; sisters, Maud Ring of New Hampshire, and Mabel Rafferty of Missouri; grandchildren, Jamie Alberi and wife, Susan, Patti Wyatt and husband, Matt, Pam McAvoy and husband, Rick, Michele Lewis and husband, Mark, Stephanie Gates and husband, Bill, and Marc Alberi; great-grandchildren, Sean Alberi and wife, Brittany, Chris Alberi, Rafferty Wyatt, Chancellor Wyatt, Noah McAvoy, Wyatt Eshleman, William Eshleman, Riley Gates and Jordyn Gates; plus numerous nieces and nephews, who were dear to her.

Bertha was predeceased by her husband, Richard; sisters, Jo Eaton and Frances Pike; and brothers, Estell, Bun, Filmore and Ed Francis.

Online condolences may be shared with her family at www.chandlerfunerals.com.

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