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Good-bye my friend In honor of Alberta Godfrey

This obituary was written by Geneva Gates Foote
Friday January 11, 2002

The Westbrae community will miss Alberta Godfrey. She died this past week.  

Her funeral was on Friday, Jan. 4. 

I may not have all the facts right. Facts are slippery things. Even the bit I do know of her story may not be so. But this is what she shared with me. 

Alberta Godfrey was born in Louisiana and came here during World War II.  

She worked in the shipyards in Richmond. Eventually she married and had eight children.  

She came from good stock; her grandmother who was half Native American was a shaman, a healer and an herbalist.  

My husband Abbot was present when Berta had a vision of this grandmother. 

As a child Berta learned many things, including how to drive a team of horses.  

Yet she never learned to drive a car.  

Her husband died when her oldest son was 17.  

Berta worked as a cook at the Laney College cafeteria and did her best to care for her children. 

But I remember Berta from when I first went blind in the early ’70s. We would meet mornings at Bobby Freeman’s Wash House on Gilman Street.  

We would all have coffee and talk. Berta was thinking about going to school at Laney College, though she’d had only three years of schooling.  

She did it and graduated with a certificate in culinary skills. 

Mostly I think of Berta walking up Gilman Street from her Stannage Street home.  

She would carry a broom or hedge clippers to work on her Curtis Street property.  

Berta always took the time to stop and talk or to holler at you from across the street. 

There were many days when we sat on the bench in front of Toot Sweets laughing, crying, holding hands and singing hymns. 

“Precious Lord, take her hand.” 

I miss you, Berta. 

This obituary was written by Geneva Gates Foote