Roberta L Garrison, 76
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Roberta Liane Garrison, 76, passed away November 21, 2017, after a 10 year battle with Alzheimer’s. She was born January 2, 1941, in Lawrence, Kansas, to the late Bert and Connie Johnson. She was raised in Lawrence, Kansas and Joliet, Illinois, but returned to Lawrence to attend the University of Kansas. While at KU she met and later married Mike Garrison. They were in their 55th year of marriage at her passing. Roberta was know to her friends as Berta. Berta is probably best remembered for all her service to others, something she devoted her adult life to, giving to others. Roberta was always helping others. Her support for her husband and family was her mission in life and her efforts made a significant impact on all of those around her. She worked as a Social Worker in New York City, a teacher, and for over 35 years worked as a weight loss councilor for Weight Watchers. She thrived in these roles as she helped others. This help was most evident in her role as a Mother. She was a Den Mother to their Son Steve, and his fellow Cub Scouts, who used the same Cub Scout Table that was used in the 1940’s by her husband Mike, whose Mother Lucille was also a Den Mother. As Steve advanced through the Blue Valley Schools, Mike and Berta never missed a Soccer Game or a Football Game where Steve was playing. Steve had a love for music and played drums for a very successful group Ground Zero. Because of the electronic amplification of the music she helped Mike soundproof their basement into a practice studio. Ground Zero practiced regularly in their sound proofed area that included a well lit stage. Berta instilled a love of learning in her Son and her support contributed to him earning a PhD in Political Science from KU. Yes the Garrisons were all very loyal Jayhawks. Today Steve is the Chairman of the Political Science Department at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas and is consulted regularly by local media during elections for political analysis. Berta also served several years as a Blue Bird Leader for their Daughter Suzanne’s Troop. Suzy developed a love for the theater at a very early age and Berta was instrumental in her development. Berta ensured Suzy attended her acting and singing lessons, rehearsals, and series of productions. Berta had a real talent with the sewing machine and this evolved into making costumes not only for Suzy but for many of her friends, who were also theatrically inclined. Berta’s continued support for Suzy lead to her attendance and graduation from the American Music and Drama Academy in New York. Suzy tried for over a year to break into this very difficult profession, in New York, but finally returned back to Kansas, where she was again supported very lovingly by Berta. Since then Suzy has worked in dinner theater and as a dance instructor. Berta’s service to others was not confined to their kids by any means. Roberta dropped 55 pounds and kept it off for 35 years, she had always had a problem with weight control. But she wanted to help others and this developed into a career with Weight Watchers, where she taught and helped hundred of people control their weight for over 35 years. As she raised her children, Berta continued to help others. During weekly Weight Watcher meetings Berta counseled others on how to eat properly and supported them with their struggles. She used her successful experience losing weight following the birth of her two children to motivate others. This success even resulted in her appearing in a Weight Watchers commercial. She specialized with in house training for companies who wanted to help their employees. She supported her Husband Mike’s career as a Professional Engineer. She further supported and encouraged her husband Mike to pursue a side career of aviation. Through her encouragement he became a very accomplished Flight Instructor and for the past 14 years he has been an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, since his retirement in 2004. He continues that today in Florida, the flight instruction capital of the World. She learned to navigate and participated in the many vacation flights the family took through the years. These included Mexico, Canada, and both coasts of the United States. Both Mike and Berta loved the sea. They began their marriage in Key West where he was stationed on the USS Peterson (DE-152) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As the kids moved on, Berta and Mike spent time together in their favorite hobby, travelling. They celebrated their 40th Anniversary on a Holland America ship in the Mediterranean, sailing from Rome to Barcelona and renewed their marriage vows by the Captain. They celebrated their 50th Anniversary on a Celebrity ship sailing from Amsterdam to Copenhagen through the Norwegian Fiords. They would always spend several days before and after each cruise to learn some of the cultures and foods of these different countries. Berta had a wonderful life with many great adventures. She enriched the lives of those around her. In 2014 they decided to move to Florida, where Berta commented she never saw another flake of snow, and that was just fine. She really enjoyed the last years of her life in Sunny Florida and the few activities they were able to do with her limitations. She is survived by her husband Mike, 78, who remains in their home in Port Saint Lucie. Their Son, Steve, 48, and his wife Kristen in Wichita Falls and their family includes two wonderful girls. Isabel, 15, is an exceptional student, accomplished musician, and enjoys writing. Julia, 13, regularly performs in local theater productions. Their Daughter Suzanne, 44, of Kansas City, instructs and develops talents in cosmetics and makeup systems. Suzy’s Son, Preston, 11, was very close to Berta and ventured to Florida twice, by himself, to visit his Grand Ma. He was very close to Berta. She will be missed by all her friends and relatives. Services will be held at the Johnson County Memorial Gardens at 2:00 PM, June 5, 2018.