Bertha Bellcross, who has traveled for decades from the South Side to clean the homes of prominent families on the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park, is happy about her grandson, who interned at the White House and attended college and law school. I was delighted.
Mrs. Cross was part of the Great Migration of Southern blacks who moved north in search of a better life, and was raised in Mississippi and left as a young woman.
“She had a limited education, so for her to see me accomplish something and to know that we were descendants of slavery, it was a legacy fulfilled. I have worked for Vice President Kamala Harris.
“She basically raised us and instilled great values in us,” said Cassandra Cross, daughter of Mrs. Cross. “She also taught us all the wonderful things in life: travel, good food, ball games, the zoo. I visited the place.”
An accomplished cook, she made macaroni and cheese, boiling cornbread and banana pudding “not just for our family, but for everyone in the neighborhood.” For young black girls.
One day, rumors spread that Mrs. Cross was cooking for her grandson’s birthday party, and the adults in the neighborhood began asking if they could come.
“My mom said, ‘But it’s a kid’s birthday party. You don’t have kids. Why would you want to come? ‘” McClinton said. “And they’ll say: ‘It’s because of the food.’ And they’ll surely bring presents.”
Mrs Cross died on January 19th at the age of 85. She had Alzheimer’s disease for years, her family said.
Presentation was key, as was often the case when she was the host. From her just the right hairdo, fashionable jewelry and outfits, to the crystals on her dining table, which is decked out in her favorite color, red.
“I knew that if she would throw a party, we would have enough to eat, laugh a lot and have a glorious time,” said Tessina Horne, Mrs. Cross’s granddaughter. “It was always hard coming home. She was always jazzy and nice and adorned with jewelry.
“She would always shriek to greet her grandchildren, ‘Hey baby!'” Horn said. “And she was a hugger — a big, big hugger. Not just a basic hug. I mean, it was a hug.”
In 1968, Mrs. Cross took a job at the home of Bill Singer (future alderman, mayoral candidate and attorney) and his wife, Connie, in Lincoln Park.
“She started out as a housekeeper, but has become part of our family,” said Emily Singer Lucio.
“She stayed with my mom after her parents divorced and stayed with our family for 50 years,” said the singer Lucio. Words cannot express the love and affection I feel.
“What she wanted was the best for her children and grandchildren, that they would get the best of themselves, do the best they could, and get every opportunity.” And we honored that with her and did what we could to help our children and create a connection with work and school.
“She had the best laugh and always had a really good sense of humor. She always made me cook carrots.”
Mrs. Cross, whose husband Billy Ray Cross died in 1970, lived in Inglewood when she first came to Chicago, then Rosemoor and finally Roseland, where she lived for over 30 years. I was.
She also worked for decades for real estate developer Alfy D’Ancona and his wife, Terri, with whom he has two children.
“She was an amazing woman, mother and grandmother. I always admired her,” said Alfie Dancona. “She was part of our family, always smiling, a caring and wonderful woman. And I can’t say enough good things about her. I miss her. But , she will have a wonderful time in heaven.”
Mrs. Cross retired in 2016 and threw a big party.
In addition to a daughter and two grandchildren, Mrs. Cross has a son, Michael Willis, and a partner of nearly 30 years, James Jamison.
There will be a viewing at Gatling’s Chapel, S. Halsted St. 10133 on February 10th from 3pm to 6pm and a celebration of her life on February 11th from 11:30am to noon . February 11th afternoon.