Maryann Berkshire, 87, Royal Center, passed away at 10:22 a.m. Monday, May 4, 2020, at Franciscan Health Hospital in Lafayette.
She loved reading her Bible, fishing, family vacations, Pioneer football, storytelling and watching the Golden Girls. Most of all, regardless of how you became family, once you were family, she loved you with all her heart.
Born on June 13, 1932, in Royal Center, she was the daughter of the late Charles and Eileen (Morter) Small.
She was a proud graduate of the Royal Center High School class of 1950 and remained active with her classmates throughout her lifetime.
On June 18, 1950, she married Dean Dee Berkshire. Together they started their family and raised four children, all who survive: Connie (Gene) Spradling, Royal Center; Deanna (Steve) Crispen, Logansport; Brian (Valerie) Berkshire, Kewanna; and Steve (Rita) Berkshire, Logansport.
Education was a priority for the couple and they were active participants in their children’s school activities and sports, serving with the PTA and coaching youth activities.
When their youngest child started school, she returned to the workforce as a United States Postal Service employee and rose to the position of Postmaster serving Lake Cicott and then Royal Center. She retired as Postmaster in Royal Center on Sept. 2, 1992.
She and Dean enjoyed their retirement years filled with the love and activities of their grandchildren who adored them and eventually gave her the nickname “Gramcracker” because she was so sweet. Many summers found the entire family traveling to northern Wisconsin or Michigan for a week of fishing, playing cards, and campfires. She was an avid fisherwoman and insisted on having her old green fishing pole no matter what. She documented each trip in a notebook with details on the weather each day and who caught the biggest fish. She loved maps and spent many hours planning each trip with maps taped on the kitchen wall.
Her grandchildren survive and cherish those memories: Angela (Jeff) Manges, Royal Center; Patrick (Kendra) Berkshire, Lowell; Emily (Ryan) Slavens, Logansport; Alyson (Bonnie) Brannen, San Jose, Calif.; Eric (Kayci) Berkshire, Greenfield; Melissa (Mark) Lowry, Logansport; Matthew (Upeksha) Berkshire, Indianapolis; Lacey Berkshire, Indianapolis; Lane (Catie) Berkshire, Lebanon; Dylan (Megan York) Berkshire, Logansport; Alexa Berkshire, Logansport; and Linda Hiatt, Logansport.
She and Dean shared their joy in the arrival of their first great-grandchild in March 2005. The family was soon devastated with the loss of Dean on Dec. 9, 2005, and wondered how she would go on without her life partner of 55 years. Those fears were unfounded because she was a strong woman with a love of the Lord. She was devoted in her faith and a member of the Royal Center United Methodist Church, where she served in many roles and participated in her circle group and Bible study. Her faith and her family helped her heal and find joy.
She would go on to celebrate the arrival of many more great-grandchildren. She loved and enjoyed them deeply and they filled her life with love, joy and purpose. Christmas at her house only grew with the addition of each great-grandchild and more Christmas stockings on the wall. Nothing pleased her more than seeing her home filled with her family. She is survived by great grandchildren: Drew, Mia, and Briggs Manges; Aiden, Ava, Gabriel, and Elijah Berkshire; Berkley and Graham Slavens; Wyatt Brannen and Lucy Berkshire; Camryn, Carson, Cassidy and Claire Lowry; Hunter and Harrison Berkshire; Jalen Adaway and Lyric Mallory; and a great-great-grandson: Draven Holt.
She is also survived by her brother: Sonny (Agnes) Small, Royal Center; and sister: Charleen Bigford, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; two sisters-in-law; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by a grandchild: Aja Hiatt.
Due to current public gathering restrictions Maryann’s visitation and service will be private.
Burial will be at Kistler Cemetery. The family requests memorial gifts may be made to the Dean & Maryann Berkshire Scholarship Fund at the Cass County Community Foundation, P.O. Box 441, Logansport, Indiana 46947.