Bertha H. Taylor

December 1, 1911December 10, 2012

Bertha Henry Taylor Born 12/1/1911 on a homestead in Alberta, Canada; the last of seven siblings born to Hubert and Hilma Wilms; Bertha moved to Los Angeles with her family in 1925 where she received most of her formal education, married and raised her two sons, Bill and Rob. They preceded her in death in 1978 & 1988. In the 1940s Bertha cared for World War II babies and established the first licensed home in L.A. County for working mothers and their children. Living in San Gabriel Valley from 1938-1957, she then moved to San Clemente, moved to the Brisa del Mar Motel off the freeway right-a-way and operated it until she sold in in 1960, then established her own real estate firm, BERTHA HENRY REALTORS, which is still operating on Ave. Del Mar, San Clemente. As an active committee member of the local, state and national Real Estate Associations, Bertha won many “Top Sales” awards, and was the recipient of the “Salesman of the Year” award in 1964 and the “Realtor of the Year” award in 1969 for her community involvement. In 1990 she was presented with the “Honorary Member for Life” certification from the California Association of Realtors for her years of service and professionalism to the industry. Some of Bertha’s community endeavors were: In 1959 she helped establish the first San Clemente Hospitality Center for the Camp Pendleton Marines, serving as Chair of the Governing Board for two years. In 1960, she was the first woman president of the San Clemente Apartment-Hotel-Motel Association (a “force” in San Clemente), initiating a national advertising campaign involving the A.H.M.A., the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Realtors, and the San Clemente merchants; bringing in many new tourists; promoted the first 4th of July fireworks to keep tourists in town longer; initiated a movement with the State and City which resulted in the Lease Purchase Bond that kept the beaches open for public use when being threatened by a developer in 1960; and worked with City officials in stopping the state engineers from closing the Coast Hwy at the “Y” when the freeway went through town in 1960. As environmental chairman for the Board of Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce in the 1960’s, she gave out awards encouraging businesses and residents to upgrade their properties and raised the funds to plant the El Camino Real palm trees – “Bertha’s Palms!!” In 1986, serving on the City Adhoc Committee, she held a meeting with the property owners of Ave. Del Mar to convince the City to properly install the side walk pavers when the Ave. was reconstructed and beautified. As Secretary, Treasurer, and Orange County Director of the California Mission Country Visitors’ Association, she obtained footage for San Clemente in a National travel film and had three Mission Bells placed on El Camino Real. She also kept the City Council appraised of State bills affecting the City of San Clemente. Another first for Bertha was being elected to the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in 1959; she was the only woman serving and became the first woman President in 1973/1974. Her two goals were to establish a booster club (AMIGOS), increasing Chamber membership by 200%, and starting a new beginning for San Clemente’s historical pageant, THE CROSS AND THE ARROW, PAGEANT OF LA CRISTIANITA, a two-hour outdoor drama 1976-1988. With a 12-year successful run, it earned the Disneyland Community Award for being the most innovative program in Orange County the Bicentennial year, 1976. In 1972, another first for Bertha was being the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of Pacific Christian College in Fullerton, becoming the first woman to chair the Board, 1976/1977. She was also the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors Church Development Fund, a Christian financial institution serving churches. A founding member of Community Christian Church in San Juan Capistrano since 1966, Bertha taught Bible classes from pre-school to adult classes, the only woman serving on the Board of Trustees and chairing the “Mustard Seed Ministries” involved in Social Issues and Community Outreach, which efforts earned her the nomination of “San Juan Capistrano Citizen of the Year” in 1995. From 1987 to 1992, she was Campaign Director, raising over 1 million dollars for the reconstruction of the church facility. An honorary plaque and poster graces her wall along with many other plaques of honor. Namely: “Woman of Achievement” 1973, “San Clemente Citizen of the Year” 1978, and “Distinguished Service Award” from Pacific Christian College in 1977. An energetic civic leader making San Clemente history in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Bertha was dubbed “First Lady of First Ladies”, “Mrs. San Clemente”, “Mrs. Real Estate”, “Mrs. Chamber of Commerce”, “Mother of the Pageant”, and “Living Legend of San Clemente”. Her Historical Albums of her thirty years in San Clemente were on display and used by students for research at the Heritage Foundation, until it closed in 2000. Because of her association with President Nixon and his wife, Pat, she has been pictured and quoted in two hardback publications, “The Impact of President Richard M. Nixon’s Residency on San Clemente” and “The Heritage of San Clemente”, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the “Spanish City by the Sea” 1925-2000. Losing her husband, Tom Taylor, of 7 years in 1984, Bertha moved to Chateau San Juan, S.J.C., in 1986, where she remained community involved. She bears the title of “Ms. Chateau San Juan” , was the coordinator of the Liaison Committee, and is the recipient of the Chateau’s “First Treasure” award, which is displayed on the Honor Wall along with her portrait. She delighted in bringing new residents to the Chateau, and having friends and family over for lunch. She was blessed with a loving family: step-daughter Wanda “Henry” Mooneyham, 7 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and many wonderful nieces and nephews, all close to her heart. Bertha’s motto was, “What you put into the lives of others, comes back into your own,” and she said, “The proof is in the pudding,” and “God has showered me with blessings. Bertha entered into eternal life on December 10, 2012 in San Juan Capistrano. Her final resting place will be at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, California. Her family is planning a memorial service in her honor; date and time to be determined.


Bertha H. Taylor

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