|Bertha McKinney Surber|
Bertha was born to Oliver Blowers McKinney, MD and Carrie Snider on 29 Jun 1887, in Champaign, Illinois. Dr. McKinney was born in Muncie, Indiana in 1863, and graduated from the Medical College of Indiana in 1885. He came to Lyon County, Iowa in 1893, settling first in Little Rock and a year later coming to George. Mrs. McKinney died in 1897, leaving her husband and Bertha, brother, James Oliver and sister, Bessie June surviving. Her father married Margaret Bernadine Block on 02 Jun 1908 in Kingsbury, South Dakota. They would have two more children: Roy Ira and Olive B. The new Mrs. Block would serve as Dr. McKinney's nurse during the entire time he practiced.
Bertha, according to a family history written in 1904 by G W Nance, had a magnificent singing voice: "She has devoted much time to music and has a reputation throughout northwest Iowa for her musical ability, and expects to go abroad to continue her music."
|Dr. O. B. McKinney, Bertha's mother Carrie Snider, Bertha's stepmom, Margaret|
|Guy Arnold Surber|
When Dr. McKinney died in 1937, his will was probated and the outcome of the distribution took some time. The Cherokee facility moved to have Bertha declared incompetent and a trustee name so that the trustee could handle her inheritance. Of course, the facility also provided Bertha with a bill for the care provided for the past three years: $548.79.
She was diagnosed as a manic-depressive with possible dementia and while there were no more suicide attempts, she wasn't getting better, in fact, she continued her slow descent for 13 more years until her death at age 60 of pulmonary tuberculosis, never leaving the hospital.