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Bertha R. Kolb

On Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, Bertha R. Kolb, 94, passed away at Merit Health River Region Hospital in Vicksburg.

Bertha was born on Nov. 3, 1925, in Dumas, Ark. to Harold Ragsdale and Hallie Muskelly Ragsdale. On Oct. 9, 1951, she married Charles R. Kolb. She attended Louisiana State University and helped people explore the world as a travel agent for more than 15 years.

Bertha was a person who fully embraced life. She never sat still! She loved to travel and saw most of the world — first with the love of her life, her dear Charlie, and then with her beloved sisters. She went on so many cruises; with her great travel agent deals, she always would say it was more expensive to stay home! But she also fully embraced all of the excitement going on in her own backyard.

Bertha loved her church family at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Bovina so very much. She enjoyed performing in a variety of plays with the Vicksburg Theatre Guild, but especially as Mrs. Vanderlop in “Gold in the Hills.” She loved cheering on her LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints. And she volunteered with countless organizations, including as a hostess for the Miss Mississippi Pageant, the Mississippi Garden Club, the Vicksburg Garden Club and as an Ambassador for the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce, where she was awarded the Ambassador of the Year — an award named for her ever since.

Bertha loved to love on people. And her love often took the form of food! If you knew her, you’ve probably eaten one of her cakes! She and her sister so enjoyed for their home to be party central — freely giving of their love, food and space for countless Christmas, birthday, Easter, Thanksgiving and baby shower celebrations. Every coconut cake, every flower arrangement, every Alaska Salad was created to fill the hearts and bellies of the people around her.

Bertha was preceded in death by her father, Harold; her mother, Hallie; her sister, Halley Jo; her brother, Sidney; and her husband, Charles. She is survived by her son, Charles; her sisters, Martha and Barbara; her grandchildren, Tonya and Stephanie,; her great-grandchildren, Kayla, Cassidy, Charlie and June; and countless nieces, nephews and cousins. All of these she loved and touched deeply.

Special thanks to the caregivers who took care of Bertha and Halley Jo during the last years of their lives.

A celebration of her life will take place sometime in the future when we can all gather together safely. Until then, we will share our love and our sweet memories of Bertha.