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Bernice “Busia” Barta, aged 98, passed peacefully from sleep into eternal life on Aug. 3 in the home of her son, Damian Barta.


Bernice was a long time resident of Evanston. She was born on the south side of Chicago to Walter Marciniak and Hattie Klesczc. Bernice graduated from St. Xavier College with an emphasis on social work. After college, she worked for Catholic Charities. She volunteered in a settlement house and at Friendship House on the southside of Chicago, working against racial injustice.


After the war, Bernice married Russ Barta, and they had seven children: Paula, Damian, Chris, Greg, Maris, Hilary and Dan.  


Bernice volunteered with the League of Women Voters, documenting racial discrimination and segregation in Chicago. Her social work training brought her to work with the Visiting Nurses Association of the Northshore. She organized Peace Poster campaigns in the local schools and became a board member of the North Shore Peace initiative. Bernice helped develop a park in her neighborhood in Evanston. She was active in Saint Nicholas Church, participating in the Peace and Justice Committee, Green Team and Arts and Environment Committee. She was a member of Pax Christi and Call to Action.


Preceding her in death were her husband, Russ, brothers Henry and Ed, Henry’s wife, Helen, and Ed’s wife, Virginia, grandson Rusty, and Russ’s sister, Virginia, nephews Hank, Paul and Andy Marciniak.  


Bernice was blessed with 11 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

A memorial mass will be held Sept. 14 at Saint Nicholas Church, 806 Ridge Ave, with visitation at 1 p.m. and the service at 2 p.m., followed by a reception in Oldershaw Hall which is located just west of the church.


A private family burial service for Bernice and her husband Russ will take place at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donation can be made in her name to National Center for the Laity, P.O. box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629 or to the Pope John XXIII Scholarship Fund or to the Peace and Justice Committee, St.  Nicholas Church, 806 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60202.