In Bertha Holt’s words, “All children are beautiful when they’re loved.”
Bertha worked tirelessly on behalf of children in need until her death at age 96 on July 31, 2000. She was affectionately known as “Grandma Holt” to adoptive families and to the thousands of children around the world whose lives she changed.
Bertha was an American Mother of the Year. She was recognized by heads of state, the recipient of many national awards. But “Grandma” was the title she coveted most.
When Bertha’s husband Harry passed away in 1964, many thought the Holt agency would simply fold up. But Bertha said, “This work was always God’s work. If He wants it to continue, it will.” Her strength and faith persevered, and Holt continued to grow and meet the needs of an increasing number of homeless children.
Bertha’s leadership still guides Holt’s model of service to children today. We strive to uphold Bertha’s ethics, up-front and honest practices, and ongoing support to adoptive families and children. As an organization, we never want to forget our history, and the remarkable vision of Harry and Bertha.
Bertha’s 110th birthday would have been February 5, 2014. Please send us your photos or written memories of Grandma to [email protected] this week and we will share them here, in honor of her incredible legacy. You can tweet us at @holtintl or with the hashtag #HappyBdayGrandma.
If you would like to sponsor a child in Bertha’s honor, click here.
From Kelli Buhr via Holt Alumni Facebook
From Cindy Schuman, Iowa:
From Kathie Stocker, Portland:
From Susan Cox, Eugene:
From Lisa Vertulfo, Eugene:
From David Lim, Eugene:
From Susan Aist Harris, via Holt Alumni Facebook:
From Cathy Crannell Pitt, via Holt Alumni Facebook:
From Colleen Gruver, via Holt International Facebook:
Fondly remembering Grandma Bertha Holt today on what would have been her 110th birthday. Her life profoundly impacted thousands of families all over the world, including my own.
From Eileen Nunnelley
I have a wonderful memory of Grandma Holt from perhaps 1999. We happened to be in the same hotel and by coincidence saw her in the women’s restroom. My daughter, adopted from Russia, was there too. Grandma Holt greeted my daughter with such sweetness and love, just like a “real” Grandma and I finally understood where her unofficial title came from! Neither of my parents are alive, so it was very special that my daughter could feel this kind of unconditional love. I think of Grandma Holt so often with gratitude and awe at her absolute trust in God that made her work possible.