Bertha Frances Forner (Swalec) was born to first generation citizens Andrew and Sophia Swalec in Wacousta, MI. Raised on a farm while attending Watertown Center's one-room school house, Bertha worked her way through high school, graduating from St. Mary's in Lansing. As a young woman, she moved to Ann Arbor to help the war effort by working in the Willow Run Bomber Plant as one of many "Rosie the Riveters". She later married Charles John Forner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.
Bertha raised her four children alone, following the tragic death of her husband in 1955. Her children graduated from St. Thomas while Bertha worked at King- Seeley and later at the University of Michigan as a computer tape librarian. In her retirement years, she was active in St. Thomas Altar Society, enjoyed reading, gardening, and playing bingo.
She is survived by her daughters Barbara, Susan, Kathryn, Deborah, grandsons Andrew Charles Forner (Dallas, TX), David and Kyle Shipman (Atlanta, GA), and sister Stella (Babe) Wenzlick, also her 15 nieces and nephews. Her extended children and family include her daughters' life-long friends, several loving neighbors, and church members.
In celebration of her 89 faith-filled years, visitation will be Thursday, November 15, 2012 from 4:00-8:00pm with the rosary at 7:30p at Muehlig Funeral Chapel. Funeral Mass will be Friday, November 16th at 10:00am at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.