Berena Gurd

Oct 22nd 1927 - Jul 2nd 2012

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Through the life she lived each day, Berena Gurd taught us that happiness is not found in what we have or in the accolades of those around us, but that it is through the love we share with others that we are richly blessed. She was one of the most generous people around as she was the sort of woman who would do anything for anyone, day or night. There was nothing Berena loved more than being surrounded by the family she loved more than life itself, her family her greatest pride and joy. A blessing in so many ways, she will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.

The 1920s were exciting days in our nation’s history. Innovation was taking us places we had never been, allowing for more affordable automobiles, conveniences such as the washing machine, and unprecedented opportunities in the world of flight. This was the decade that saw Broadway at its all time peak and motion pictures that became available in both color and sound while greats like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb breathed new life into American baseball. Nestled within this colorful decade was the year 1927 that brought great joy to one young couple from Ada, Ohio, as they welcomed a healthy baby girl into their hearts and home on October 22nd. Baby Berena was the third of twelve children born to her parents, Elmer and Wava (Imas) LaFountain. Her parents were farmers who moved their bustling clan to the Hooper area of Michigan when Berena was two years old.

For the most part Berena experienced an upbringing that was reflective of the times. She attended local schools through the ninth grade, which was fairly common for the youth of her generation. After she returned home from school each day Berena kept busy helping on the farm in addition to caring for her younger siblings.

Throughout her life there was no greater priority than her family. A new chapter in her life’s journey began when she met the love of her life, Keith Gurd, in 1966. With a desire to build a life together they became husband and wife in 1967. To their union Berena also brought five children who were the light of her life: Don, Cheryl, Evon, Robin, and Terry. She always loved dogs, too, and her many poodles were like additional members of the family. Berena was especially partial to her dog, Mickey, and he was a great watchdog for her that would let her know if any of her children ever tried to sneak in after curfew. She loved going mushrooming with her husband in addition to her sister and her husband, Donna and Carol Russell. Together they were quite the foursome.

Berena’s life was enriched in so many ways through the years. She worked on the farm all her working days, retiring from farm work at the age of 50. Berena was never a fan of traveling. In fact, the one time she took a trip to Florida she couldn’t wait to get back home! However, every Sunday they traveled to Angola, Indiana, or other local parks for country and western music concerts.

There were so many things that made Berena an extraordinary woman and so easy to love. As her friends and family can attest she had a heart of gold and was always looking for ways to help others however she could. Berena loved everyone unconditionally and with no strings attached.

Life will never be the same without Berena Gurd here, but the lives of so many within her reach will be forever changed because of her touch. She was kindhearted and generous, thoughtful and genuine. Berena’s love had no match, and she had a way of making everyone in her family feel loved in their own special way. Selfless, gracious, and compassionate, she will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.

Berena Gurd of Orangeville died July 2, 2012, at Plainwell Pines. Berena’s family includes her children: Don (Dianne) Barker, Evon (Sonny) Fetterley, Robin (Phil) Fair, Terry Griffin; 13 grandchildren; 22 great grandchildren; and siblings: Ward Neal, Deroma, Shaop and Linda Brower. Berena was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, Keith; siblings: Linford Neal, Richard LaFountain, Sut LaFountain, Ronald LaFountain, Gary LaFountain, Lewis LaFountain, Donna Russell, June Zander; and her parents: Elmer & Wave (Imas) LaFountain. Visit with her family and friends and view her life story film on Thursday from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Plainwell; 120 Woodhams St. (685-5881). A funeral service will be held on Friday at 2:00 at the same location. Please visit Berena’s memory page at where you can archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online before coming to funeral home. Memorial donations can be made to The Alzheimer’s Association.

Berena Gurd