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Kolb was truly a great ambassador for the city of Vicksburg

Bertha R. Kolb was a woman who loved life, traveling, soaking up the scenery and trying new things.

“My grandmother was also so gracious with her time and energy. She wanted people to feel a sense of belonging and she did that through parties at her house and gatherings and church and any way she could,” Kolb’s granddaughter Stephanie Fisher said. “I think a lot of people were touched by her in ways that she didn’t even realize.”

Kolb died Aug. 1 at the age of 94.

With her exuberant energy and enthusiasm, Kolb made her mark in Vicksburg.

For more than 50 years she was an avid volunteer for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce.

“Bertha was a joy to be around,” Christi Kilroy, former executive director at the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce, said. “She was an impeccable ambassador and such a loyal advocate for the work the chamber was doing. She showed up at every event possible and she showed up for whatever it was we needed. She was just very passionate about the work the chamber had done.”

The ambassador program began during Kilroy’s time at the chamber. Those serving as ambassadors support chamber member business events, help with chamber activities and encourage new chamber members.

“I remember her talking to people and she would ask them if they were a member of the chamber and if so she would say, ‘I knew I liked you,’” Kilroy said. If they weren’t members, Kilroy said Kolb cajoled them to become members. “She would say, ‘What are you waiting for and why in the world would you not do that, this is all the things we do.’”

During Kilroy’s tenure, Kolb became the recipient of the organization’s Ambassador of the Year Award. Since the awarding of the 2011 honor, the award was renamed in her honor and is now the Bertha Kolb Ambassador of the Year Award.

“As chamber director, I felt so honored to present one outstanding yearly Chamber Ambassador with the award named after Bertha Kolb,” Jane Flowers, who followed Kilroy as executive director of the chamber, said. “Bertha was always so bubbly and welcoming. She kept an active chamber membership until she could no longer go anywhere. She was truly a great ambassador for Vicksburg.”

In addition to her many years of service to the chamber, Kolb performed in Vicksburg Theatre Guild productions and was a long-time cast member of the Guinness Book of World Records’ longest-running play, “Gold in the Hills,” where she played Mrs. Vanderlop.

“She was really a delightful person and was somebody who took her responsibility very seriously in being part of a show,” Dr. Paul Ballard said.

Ballard has served as the Vicksburg Theatre Guild president, directed numerous productions and performed alongside Kolb.

Mike Calnan, an active member of the guild, said he enjoyed knowing Kolb.

“She was kind, personable and a good actress. And she was just an all-around wonderful human being,” he said.

Lee Waring, who was a Miss Mississippi Pageant hostess with Kolb, described her as a “lady with many talents.”

“As a Miss Mississippi Pageant hostess, she always made the contestants feel special,” Waring said. “She always promoted Vicksburg, and Bertha never met a person in need that she didn’t try to help in some way. I felt honored to be her friend.”

Kolb was a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and was also involved with the Mississippi Garden Club and the Vicksburg Garden Club.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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