Mary Berles

August 24, 1939 — January 3, 2022

Mary Berles

Mary Kay Berles, age 82, born August 24, 1939, in Grand Rapids, MI to Watson and Dorothy Page, passed away peacefully in Alpena on January 3, 2022, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s.

Beloved mother, grandmother, and sister, she is survived by children, Katherine Duisterhof (former son-in-law, Tom), James Berles (Kristin), granddaughters Page, Maggie, Elly and Amelia, brother James Page (Pam), and sister Susan Bachelder (Jon) and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 60 years, David Hedrick Berles, who passed away unexpectedly two months prior on November 3, 2021.

Mary Kay was born and raised in East Grand Rapids and spent childhood summers with her family at Silver Lake in Rockford where she fell in love with water. She later became a camp counselor at Camp Newaygo where she led many canoeing camping trips. Mary Kay, an excellent swimmer, competed on the Synchronized Swimming Team at Michigan State University and was also an active member of MSU’s Delta Gamma sorority.

Mary Kay loved working with young children. After she graduated from East Grand Rapids High School and then Michigan State University with a degree in education, Miss Mary Kay taught students in first grade and then taught preschool students at Mayflower Preschool for many years. When she retired, she volunteered with others from First United Methodist Church in downtown Grand Rapids as a tutor at Henry Elementary School.

In 1976, Mary Kay joined her husband on the summer recreation staff in Bay View, Michigan. She helped David run the tennis program for over two decades. While summering in Bay View, she discovered a new love – attending performances by the Bay View artists in the music program. In her final years when communication was difficult, she would always smile and sing along when she heard a favorite song.

A small burial ceremony will occur this spring in Grand Rapids with her family. A combined celebration of Mary Kay and David will occur this summer in Bay View, Michigan, date, and time to be announced later. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) or the Bay View Association Performing Arts (www.bayviewassociation.org). Arrangements made by Bannan Funeral Home.

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