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Susquehanna Life

RiverWoods Resident Bertha Button Turns 100

Oct 11, 2017 11:20AM ● By Erica Shames

Photo caption: (L to R) Bertha, her great granddaughter Karen and grandson Fitch Hasbrouck

Bertha Marie (Ketchem) Button celebrated her 100th Birthday on September 21 at RiverWoods Nursing Care Center, Lewisburg. Her birth took place in the second house below the Sunrise Church in New Columbia. She had two older sisters and two younger brothers who are all now deceased. Bertha is part Cherokee, on her father’s side, and is very proud of her heritage.

Bertha says she had a wonderful childhood. She loved to square dance; having been taught by her father who was six feet two inches tall. She often danced in the barn behind her grandparent’s summer home which was a two story house, unusual for that time.

She attended a one room school house with a single teacher at a time when the boys sat on one side and the girls sat on the other side of the classroom. A sad memory that has stayed with her is what happened at school one year. On an especially cold winter day when the teacher told them not to go outside for recess, a group of classmates were bouncing the ball on the school porch. The ball flew off into the schoolyard and one of her classmates went to get it. The wind was blowing so hard that a tree fell on her and killed her. She will never forget the sadness she and her classmates felt due to this tragic death. 

On August 29, 1943, she married the love of her life, Adrian “Al” Button. When they first met he said, “You’re pretty, I like you and I’m going to marry you!” And then he did! Al worked as a state trooper and then became police chief of the Waverly, PA, police department. Bertha worked in the office of Woolworth's for 39 years and still has a key to that office as a keepsake. On this momentous birthday, the Waverly police department sent her a picture and a card with all of the current members’ signatures. 

Bertha and Al were married for 33 years before Al passed away. They had two children, Richard, now deceased, and Janet, who lives in Michigan. Her grandson, Fitch Hasbrouck, drove 11 hours from Michigan to attend her 100th birthday celebration. She received many cards, well wishes and enjoyed a slice of the beautiful birthday cake, which was her favorite - white cake with chocolate icing. Currently, Bertha attends most of the activities offered at RiverWoods, including playing Bingo, her favorite game. She also enjoys reading during every spare minute she has. 

Bertha has seen many changes in the world over the past 100 years and when asked for advice on how to live such a long life she stated, “Never go to bed angry at anyone”. 

RiverWoods Senior Living Community is owned and operated by Albright Care Services, a faith-based non-profit corporation that serves all of central Pennsylvania. Albright also owns and operates Normandie Ridge Senior Living Community in York; Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) sites in Williamsport, Lebanon and Lancaster; and manages Warrior Run Manor, a HUD-approved housing complex in Watsontown. For more information on Albright, visit

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