Berdine Banks Collett

Berdine was a local girl of Flat Creek who ventured out as a young woman to discover a life far beyond her upbringing.

Brought up on the family farm at Windy Gap, a new house was built nearby around the time of her graduation from Flat Creek High School in June 1945. It was here that she lived while training as an X-ray technician, but eventually left to start work as a nurse doing tuberculosis screening outside Chicago, in Gary, Indiana. She joined her next-older sister, Bonnie, who already worked in the same field nearby in Freeport. It's also where she was to meet Ray, her future and lifelong husband of 52 years, then a junior executive at US Steel in Gary, Indiana.

Their romance blossomed through the Spring of 1953, when they decided to marry. Returning home, the wedding took place on September 19, 1953 at Flat Creek Baptist Church. Their honeymoon started the next day and consisted of driving cross country from North Carolina to California where they set up home and their new life together in the North Park community of San Diego.

Pamela came along the following year and John in 1958, by which time Ray & Berdine had bought a new house backing on to a canyon in the Allied Gardens neighborhood.

Berdine settled into life in California, frugal and hard-working as it was, but in many ways a golden era as well. Raising kids, keeping the household in order, morning coffee with neighbours, holiday dinners with in-laws, and nearly always, summer vacation in North Carolina. These were elements of her life, but central to it all was family. She liked nothing more in the evening than to sit, chat and soak up the atmosphere of activity in the house, preferably with a glass of red in hand.

The 6th of 10 siblings, there was never a time when she didn't return regularly to be with her sisters, brothers and loved ones, often combining such visits with an annual extended-family pilgrimage to Edisto Island.

She is survived by her son, John and wife Mary Ellen; grandchildren, Garrett and wife Cassandra, Julian, Molly and Dakota; and sisters Mary Jane Gardner, Doris Banks and Carolyn Benison.

A memorial service will be held at West Family Funeral Services, Weaverville, on September 11 at 2:30, followed by a reception at the Banks home from 5:00 pm.