Bertha Tate Vest
Picture 1: Bertha Tate Vest Picture 2: Bertha Tate Vest with classroom
Bertha Tate Vest, who was also known as “Babe” by friends and family, was born to Charles and Lesbia Ann Masterson Tate in Drexel, Missouri, in 1905. Bertha’s father worked for the U.S Post office. He was Chandler’s first rural mail carrier. Bertha had two sisters, Lucille and Edith, and two brothers, Lloyed and Forrest Tate. Her family moved to Chandler in 1917.
Bertha later attended Chandler High School. After Bertha graduated from high school in 1923, she attended Tempe Normal Teachers College in Tempe, which is now called Arizona State University. Her best friend through high school in Tempe Normal was Faith Sossaman. They both graduated from college in 1925 and began seeking a teaching position.
Bertha accepted a contract with the Rittenhouse School, now called Queen Creek. Before school was to begin, Chandler Grammar School offered her a contract to teach fourth grade. After lots of consideration, she decided that Chandler would be the best for her, for Rittenhouse had no living quarters and Bertha did not have a car to make the 15 mile drive each day. She appealed to the Rittenhouse School and was released from her contract.
Later on, Bertha did teach at the Rittenhouse school (1945-1946). The following year, in 1947, she signed a contract to teach at Higley. After several years she received her Master’s Degree and became Principal of the Higley School. In those days, eighth-grade teachers were also principals. Bertha, a member of the Junior Service Club, used that influence to establish a cafeteria in the Higley School.
Throughout those years, her specialty was penmanship, and students in her classes were instructed well in that art.
Bertha married Robert H Vest, captain of the Chandler National Guard, in 1926. He was associated with the Chandler Improvement Co., responsible for the development of the San Marcos Hotel and the early growth of business activities in Chandler. Bertha remained at Higley School for 26 years, retiring in 1973. Bertha was 99 years old when she passed away on February 24, 2005.
The street address of Higley Traditional Academy, Vest Ave, is named after the long time Higley School teacher and principal, Bertha Tate Vest.