Bertha Kretzschmar Toftey, 104, community leader and spouse of prominent North Shore artist, Adolph (Ade) Toftey, died Tuesday, August 13, at the North Shore Care Center in Grand Marais.
For nearly four decades, she and her husband published the Cook County News-Herald. Bertha was born in Sibley County, Minnesota, on November 24, 1908, to Josephine and the Rev. Martin Kretzschmar. She was baptized on December 6, 1908, at Evangelical Lutheran St. Johannes Kirche, Deep, ND, and confirmed on May 21, 1922, at Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Kirche, Pleasant Valley, MN. She graduated from Rochester High School and attended Winona State Teachers’ College, receiving a diploma in elementary education. Her love for learning took her to the University of Colorado and University of Minnesota-Duluth for summer sessions. She taught elementary grades in Swanville, Spring Valley, and Grand Marais, Minnesota.
In 1995 she was honored at the 60th class reunion of one of her first grade classes in Swanville.
She married Ade Toftey on June 18, 1937, at Evangelical Lutheran Emmanuel Church, Gaylord, Minnesota. They lived in Grand Marais where they were co-owners of the Cook County News-Herald with the Hubert Scotts. Bertha served as bookkeeper, proof-reader, reporter, and columnist for the newspaper. Her column, “Shorelines,” was a favorite of many.
Bertha was an active member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church for 76 years, serving as Sunday School superintendent, teacher, charter member of the “Bookies” book club, and president of the WELCA. In 1998 she was selected as the “Angel of the Year.”
Community activities were important to her. She had leadership roles in the Grand Marais Garden Club, Symphonians, Cook County Historical Society, and she was a fervent supporter of the Grand Marais Art Colony.