Alberta “Bert” Marie Bigham

Mrs. Alberta De Frees Bigham, aged 97, a long-time resident of Lawrence passed away at her home on January 25, 2018. Born in Topeka, Kansas on July 8, 1920, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Florence Scheetz De Frees.

Affectionately known by her friends and family as “Bert,” she was a graduate of Capital Catholic High School and the St. Francis School of Nursing. In the 1940s, Bert moved to Lawrence where she practiced nursing at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka and helped her husband Harlan Bigham run a popular local restaurant called “Happy Hal’s.” When Mr. Bigham began working for the US Government, Bert moved with him and continued to work as a nurse in both Minnesota and the Washington, DC. area. After her husband’s death in 1986, Mrs. Bigham returned to Lawrence. In addition to her husband and her parents, Alberta was preceded in death by her sisters Florence Demicheli and Anne Mae Hoffhines.

After her retirement, Bert continued to be active in the Lawrence community and participated in favorite activities with her friends in her Pinochle Club, the American Legion, and visiting with her dear friends at Meadowlark Estates, all the while cheering on her beloved Kansas Jayhawks.

Aunt Bert spent many precious and memorable hours enjoying life. Her spunk, laughter, and love of adventure touched the lives of many. She will be sadly missed by her surviving sister, Mrs. Virginia Tann of Topeka and her many nieces and nephews.

Family and friends are invited to join in an informal celebration of Bert Bigham’s life on Saturday, February 3, 2018. The service will be held at 2:00 p.m. with a visitation beginning at 1:00 p.m. one hour prior to the service at Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS. Inurnment will follow the service at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1517 E. 15th Street.

3 Condolences

  1. Pam Haden on January 31, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    I enjoyed talking with Bert when she would come to Jodas and Friends every Friday to get her hair fixed. We had many interesting visits. I would fix her a cup of coffee and we would visit until it was time for her appointment. I always enjoyed our time together and looked forward to seeing her every week. It was sad when it was just too much for her to make her appointments anymore. I’m blessed to have been able to have known her. She was a special lady.

  2. Neala on February 2, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Bert was an awesome lady, one of the grand old LADIES who told it like it was but always with love.

  3. Sarah Taggart Crowson on May 11, 2018 at 7:16 am

    We just found out Bert has passed and so sorry we could not attend her service! She was an AMAZING woman. We enjoyed many, many times with both her and her wonderful husband. They were not only dear friends of our family but part of our family and will be truly missed. We called her Christmas but the facility would not transfer or provide her direct # so we could talk to her. I know my sister sent her several cards and myself, sent her a follow up note giving her our contact info. but we never heard back. We are so glad we were able to visit with her June of 2017. She will always be close in our hearts. Much love and sympathy to her sister and the entire family, on behalf of all the Taggart families.

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