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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

June 9, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Remembering Ballard Bell advocate Bertha Davis

I was sad to find out that Bertha Davis, the longtime Ballard school teacher and neighborhood advocate I sketched for my Saturday column back in March, passed away several days ago. Bertha, 97, had recently rallied the community to make the Ballard Tower bell toll again. An obituary written by my colleague Jack Broom ran in today’s paper.
I spent a little more than an hour sketching and talking with Bertha at her Sunset West condo in Shilshole Bay. She was full of vitality. As soon as I arrived she quickly turned to the kitchen to offer me some cookies. I first sat next to her and did a quick pencil profile sketch that I never published or even showed her. Rereading my notes next to it, I think she was telling me about her family: three daughters, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, the youngest in preschool and the oldest in high school.
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Then I changed positions and sat on the carpet leaning my sketchpad against the coffee table to draw the sketch I used in the column. After I finished it, I told her I hoped she liked it and handed her my sketchbook. She looked at it and immediately replied with a big smile: “I like it because you did it.”
BerthaDavis-mm.jpg
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Ballard writer Peggy Sturdivant, who helped me get in touch with Bertha, also took this photo that has been in my iPhone all this time.
Rest in peace Bertha. I’ll treasure the memory of talking to you and doing these sketches. You were inspiring!

Comments | More in Portraits, Sketching field notes | Topics: Ballard

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