Bertha Bower poses for a photo during her 100th birthday party at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. (courtesy photo)

The Diocese of Phoenix continues to grow and evolve. Perhaps no one knows that better than Bertha Bower, née Lemon. She has spent 100 years and one week in Arizona.

That’s 36,507 days! Bertha turned 100 April 20 and has been a member of Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral since it was founded in 1953. The cathedral threw her a party to mark the occasion.

Bertha was born in the copper town of Miami, but graduated from Phoenix Union High School. She raised seven children with her husband, Ed and now has 26 grandchildren, 45 great grandchildren, 11 great-great grandchildren.

Her family’s Arizona roots run deep:

  • Her grandfather, A.D. Lemon was the owner of the Lemon hotel in downtown Phoenix and one of the first attorneys in the area.
  • Her father, Walter Pierce Lemon owned Maricopa Trading Post, now Majerle’s Sports Grill, in downtown Phoenix.
  • Her grandmother, Inez Elias, owned a home in Tempe that is now listed as a historic site: the Elias Rodriquez house. More from the house.

Bertha continues to enjoy baking, sewing, bridge, bingo and reading novels.

In case you missed the post earlier this year, meet another centenarian in the Diocese of Phoenix: