June 29, 1938- January 22, 2020 Margaret Ann ‘Mardi’ Berkner entered into peace with our creator on January 22, 2020 at Villa Siena Skilled Nursing in Mountain View, California. Mardi was born in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, daughter of Robert F Berkner and Sarah-Cecelia Madden Berkner. Mardi, along with her sister Marian and their four brothers Robert, George, Jim and Tom grew up within a close-knit Irish-German family in the small town of Mahnomen MN. The family-owned Mahnomen Milling Company bought and processed grain grown in the fertile Red River basin of northwest Minnesota producing feed and seed as well as selling fertilizer to farms in the region with its processed bulk grain sold to the larger milling companies.
Growing up Mardi was active in 4-H, played trombone in the HS band and was a strong swimmer, having swum across the 1 and ? mile wide South Twin Lake in nearby Naytahwaush, where the family had a summer cabin. Mardi graduated from Mahnomen HS in 1956 and earned her RN at College of St Catherine-St Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis-St Paul, then joined its Nursing staff. After service as a volunteer nurse during a Mission year in the Bahamas, Mardi entered the Maryknoll Sisters order in St Louis, MO. Prior to taking final her vows she left the order, earning BS and MS degrees in Nursing at St Louis University. Her nursing career then took her to Missouri Baptist and Barnes hospitals in the St Louis area, where as a Nursing Professor, she taught hundreds of young nurses the skills and care-taking techniques they would need as future nurses. She was a long-time resident of Ballwin and later Ellisville, Missouri in the western suburbs of St Louis, becoming a strong Cardinals fan while attending many games at Busch stadium. Always a very spiritual person, she was admitted as an Auxiliary Member of the Cenacle Sisters and participated in their work at the Cenacle Centers in Chicago, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY; France and the Philippines. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012, several years after retirement, she made the decision to move west to Mountain View near sister Marian Verlot of Los Altos and her family. She spent three wonderful and happy years making many great friends at the Redwood Villa Independent Senior Living residence in Mtn View. When more care became required, she then moved to Ave Maria Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing home in Monterey, CA, then finally to Villa Siena Skilled Nursing in Mtn View. Mardi was loved and wonderfully cared for at all three residences Mardi had a great circle of friends among fellow nurses, the Auxiliary and Cenacle Sisters, and those many friends made while a parishioner of Holy Infant church in Ballwin, MO, where she served in its Choir and Stephen’s Ministry. Although single throughout her life, she enjoyed visiting family, and travelling the USA and the world with many great friends. She loved her cats, her art and her photography. Mardi was pre-deceased by mother Cecelia and father Robert of Mahnomen, MN and older brother Robert of Billings MT. She is survived by brothers George Berkner of Paradise Valley, AZ (Maureen), James Berkner of Verona, WI (Sharon), Tom Berkner of Coon Rapids, MN (Mary), sister Marian Verlot of Los Altos, CA (Frank), and sister-in-law Donna Berkner of Billings, MT along with 17 nieces and nephews and 28 great nieces and nephews. She loved and was loved by all. Mardi indeed led a full life and is now at Peace. Family & friends are invited to Mardi’s Memorial Mass at the St Vincent de Paul Daughters of Charity Chapel at Villa Siena, 1855 Miramonte Ave, Mtn View, CA on Saturday February 7th at 9:30AM. Mardi will be interred in her hometown this coming spring alongside her parents at Mahnomen’s St Michael’s Cemetery.