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Life Story: Doris Berde

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A long and happy life — that is what Doris Berde will be remembered for having.

At 103 years old, her family says she was vibrant until the very end.

“While she may have wished she were younger, she knew all you can do is make the best of what you have,” her son, Michael Berde, said.

For most of her life, Doris lived in St. Paul and Mendota Heights, playing a large role in the local Jewish community.

“She had many, many friends from all walks of life,” Michael said. “She grew up as the daughter of poor Jewish immigrants on the west side of St. Paul.”

And then Doris started her own family. She and her husband raised their three kids in Highland Park.

And when they grew up, she worked at the preschool at Temple of Aaron.

“I think it was more of a calling than anything else, she wasn’t paid,” Michael said. “She had plenty else to do. Something that gave her a reason for living.”

Her son vividly remembers what his mom was like when she was a young woman. He says she was proud of her Jewish heritage and was an advocate of civil rights.

She was also an athlete.

“She was a great tennis player, had a great natural swing with a baseball bat, she used to hit the ball a long way,” Michael said.

Doris had high expectations of her children.

“She expected the best that we could give and we knew she’d be disappointed if we fell short of that,” she said.

In her 70s, 80s and 90s, Doris continued going to plays and live musical performances. She remained physically fit.

“She used to go out on walks every morning, perhaps five or six miles,” Michael said.

When she celebrated her 100th birthday, she made sure she had her hair done.

“Up until the end, she was living in a nursing home, she had her hair done once a week,” Michael said.

Doris was 103 years old when she died March 6.

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