Bernice Kerdus

Honored by:Bob Kerdus
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Verda Bernice Briden was born on a Black Hawk county farm on September 16, 1916, to Claude and Anna Bolte Briden. She graduated from Waverly High School in 1933. After graduation, she started teaching school for the princely sum of $40.00 per month. She continued to teach at one-room schools in rural Bremer and Black Hawk counties for nine years.

On June 19, 1941, Bernice married Wilford H. Kerdus of Cedar Falls. Wilford served in the European theater during World War II. After the war, the family moved to a farm outside Janesville, Iowa. Wilford and Bernice had three children: Mary Beth, born October 28, 1944; Richard Harlan, born May 5, 1947; and me, Robert Dean, born June 27, 1949.

I want to honor my mother for many reasons. She was a great teacher and nurturer for each of us kids. She stayed at home while we were young. I can remember asking her for help on homework many times --- she was always willing to help. And more importantly, she was always there to lend a sympathetic ear when I became a teenager and had "girl problems." To help put us through college, she took a job at the Sears mail order store in Waverly and stayed 20 years.

The values and leadership she and our father instilled in us have produced three productive citizens. Mary Beth graduated from the University of Iowa (obviously my parents' only failure) in 1965 with a nursing degree. She recently retired after 27 years in the US Navy. She retired as a Captain in the Navy Nurses and was the highest ranking female at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. My brother, Richard, was one of two National Merit Scholarship winners in the history of Janesville High School. He graduated from ISU in 1969 went on to get his law degree at Iowa and is now a Certified Public Accountant in Vinton Iowa. His twin daughters graduated from ISU in 1993. I graduated from ISU in 1971 then went on for my Masters from Butler University in 1974. I am now in business for myself, representing Jostens Yearbook division and American Publishers magazine fundraising company.

My mother has continued to live in Janesville since my father's death in 1976. She continues to be active in church work, in volunteering at the Veteran's Home in Marshalltown, and in helping out with Senior Citizen's groups in her area. In 1984-85 she was the chairperson on the committee that created and printed a new Bremer County History book.

I believe I have been blessed with the best mother the Good Lord could have given anybody. I love her dearly and hope to spend many more great times with her over the years ahead.