Berta Rodriguez

Visitation at Funeral Home

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Lesko & Polke Funeral Home
1209 Post Road
Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

Final Resting Place

Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Oak Lawn Cemetery
1530 Bronson Road
Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

Funeral Service

10:30 am
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
St. Pius X Church
834 Brookside Drive
Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of Berta T. Rodriguez

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Berta Teresa Rodriguez passed away in the early hours of June 9, 2023, at 89 years of age.

She is survived by her husband, Marcos; her three children, Marcos, Ana, and Amanda; her sister, Adria; ten grandchildren; and a loving legion of extended family. Berta was predeceased by her two brothers. All of us rejoice in sharing her remarkable life, and carry our memories of her in awe.

Berta traversed oceans and endured dictatorships with her equally indomitable husband, establishing a loving and flourishing family. These feats would come as no surprise to anyone spending more than a minute in her company. Born in the agrarian community of Banes, Cuba, on February 14, 1934, Berta was a devout Catholic. Berta earned a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of Havana in 1960 and married her childhood sweetheart the same year.

Seeking freedom and opportunities for their children, Berta and Marcos fled Castro's Cuba with a five-year-old son and an infant daughter and one duffel bag per person. They were among the many refugees who had to cross the Atlantic twice. They waited for their entry visas to the U.S. with 100,000 Cuban exiles in Franco's Spain. In 1967, they arrived at JFK from Madrid on a flight filled with Cubans and Russian Jews emigrating to the US, financed with the help of Catholic charities.

Eventually settling in Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, Berta and Marcos set out to rebuild some of what they had lost. For their family, they did so much more. Marcos worked as a waiter at the Plaza, while Berta set out to become certified as a pharmacist. She received her New York State pharmacist's license in 1971. She retired as a pharmacist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and a member of SEIU/1199. Berta and Marcos worked grueling hours to support and educate their children. Berta had learned from her own experience that, "the only thing that can't be taken away from you is what's in your heart and in your head". By that, she meant, your will and education. That wisdom is reflected in their children's and grandchildren's lives.

Berta led her generation, her children's generation, and their children's generation, through grim and glorious times. She instilled in her family, the values of love, joy, hard work, kindness, charity, patience, faith, family, and loyalty. Her sudden absence from our lives is heartbreaking. We are comforted knowing that she is now in heaven dancing merengue and salsa with her brothers and parents. By following her example, we hope to pass on those gifts to the next generation and those who need it most. We love you and miss you terribly, Bertica-Berta.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to Catholic Charities.

Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. in the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, in Fairfield Center. Her Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. directly at St. Pius X Church, 834 Brookside Drive, Fairfield. Interment will follow at Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fairfield.

For travel directions or to sign her online guest register, please visit

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