Berthold, Mary Frances. Our beloved aunt, sister, great-aunt, mentor and friend passed away on July 29, 2022, at the age of 80.
Mary was born July 7, 1942, to Clarence Frederick Berthold and Helen Elizabeth (Roberts) Berthold.
Mary is survived by her brother, James K. Berthold (Nancy); nephews, William K. Berthold (Rita), Bret A. Berthold (Lora), and Robert J. Berthold (Holly); and grand-nieces and nephews, Emma Berthold, Stina Berthold, Olen Berthold, Ben Berthold, and Hale Berthold.
Mary was a graduate of Kirkwood High School and went on to earn degrees in accounting and mathematics with a minor in computer sciences from Southeast Missouri State University, where she enjoyed being a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and graduated in 1964.
After college, she thought about being a college math teacher but soon moved on to business and accounting after exposure to these careers at Benson’s Department Store in Kirkwood — now Dewey’s Pizza. Mary’s professional career began with Monsanto Chemical Company in 1964, where she was hired as a secretary because it was the only position open to a woman at the time. Through her skill and hard work, Mary advanced to management and finally became Monsanto’s director of information technology, where she directed projects in North America and Europe prior to her retirement in 2002.
Mary loved to travel the United States and Europe and, of course, would work her genealogy research into her travels on many of her trips. Friends and family who would visit her while she was living in Belgium, on an assignment for Monsanto, would be treated to travels off the tourist route, fine meals, and the local flea markets.
Mary was a lifelong Kirkwood resident, growing up on Wilson Avenue surrounded by family, living later in homes on North Dickson, and finally in her lovely apartment at Aberdeen. She was a Lifetime Member of the Kirkwood Historical Society and benefactor of the Kirkwood Library. Mary also supported local food banks and Friends in Need.
Mary was more interested in helping and giving to others than receiving thanks. If she could help someone and see them do better because of it, especially young people, that was what gave her satisfaction. Mary was an encourager, mentor, and a thoughtful, caring aunt and friend, who held you to your word and expected action and results in exchange for her help. She believed in the importance of a good education for her nephews and great-nephews and nieces, and provided generous help and encouragement in their higher education. While Mary did not have children of her own, she devoted time and love to her family’s children, especially during their growing years, like the third grandparent that she was.
Mary’s passion for genealogy blossomed with the discovery of her great-grandfather’s Civil War discharge papers which stated that he was born in Lennup, Prussia. This began her lifelong quest to research family records throughout the U.S. and Europe to compile and preserve her family history and to analyze migration patterns and their relation to the events of the time. Her library contains many books mentioning family ancestors in England, Wales, Scotland, and Germany.
Until her death, Mary was the longest active member of the St. Louis Genealogical Society. Many of Mary’s books can now be found in the Mary Berthold Genealogy Library Section of the St. Louis County Library, where they are available for research to all. In 2002, Mary purchased the family records library of the National Genealogical Society in Virginia and donated them to the St. Louis County Library. It took many tractor trailer loads and coordination by Ann Flemming to deliver the collection, which is now used by researchers who visit from around the U.S. and the world.
We will dearly miss our beloved aunt, sister, and friend now that she has gone on to meet all of her ancestors that she spent a lifetime learning about. Warning to ancestors: she will have many, many questions. We love you, Aunt Mary.
Services: Saturday, Aug. 6, at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, MO. Visitation from 10 to 11 a.m. Funeral Service at 11 a.m.
Memorial donations can be sent to: St. Louis Genealogical Society, 4 Sunnen Drive; Suite 140, St. Louis, MO 63143.