Oh what a night it was on Dec. 16. “From Berth to 80” … the perfect catchphrase adorning the priceless invitation to an evening with family and friends. LaFontaine VIP was the place to be recently when the offspring of Bertha Dinkins, along with oversight by Kenneth Babineaux, rolled out a stellar celebration for their mother and lifelong educator, mentor and now, octogenarian.
The honoree stunned the waiting audience wearing an elegant heavily beaded bronze, gold and silver couture gown as she descended the spiral staircase to an applause that resulted in a standing ovation!
Program participants included jaw dropping performances by Jada Walker and contemporary dancer and vocalist Chad George. Presentations were made by long-time friend State Representative Senfronia Thompson, gospel recording artist Sara Jordan Powell, and former principal Dr. Ron Johnson. Former students and program participants included comedian Margo Foreman, Reverend Jerome and Lady Nickerson, Mary Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ, Mrs. Judy Owens, Dr. Barbara Allen and Burl and Sheryl Jones. Reverend and Mrs. Phillip Kent Sr., graciously served as emcees. Bertha’s previous and present church families were on hand to share in the beauty of the moment.
Lovingly nestled in hilarious familial remarks, Bishop James Dixon, II gave insight about his “Aunt Bertha” like no one else could.
Bertha Maxine Barnes Dinkins is the oldest of three children born to the late Mr. and Mrs. Titus Barnes, Sr. who were lifetime residents of the Heights and owners of Carl Barnes Funeral Home. Bertha attended public school in the Heights, was graduated from Prairie View A&M University where she was later employed as a counselor and instructor, and she was also a tenured educator in the HISD system. A local and national community activist and member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Bertha has three children and three grandchildren. A resident of the Heights for over 50 years, she is also the aunt of Bishop James Dixon, II, Pastor of the Community of Faith Church on Pinemont.
Happy, happy birthday to Kael Seyum Juan who blew out 15 candles on Dec. 15. Kael is a talented freshman at HSPVA in Theater Arts (he attended Frank Black M.S.) and was at school taking a final exam on his special day. A gifted actor, Kael has discovered he loves working on the technical side of theater with sound and lighting.
Proud mom Abnet Hurst had a fantastic birthday yard sign set up for Kael as a surprise (done by Elizabeth Cardner and HoustonYardArt.com of Oak Forest). Kale enjoyed several days of a birthday extravaganza with his family which includes his sister Emily and dad Gar and their best four-legged friend Tucker. Kael’s birthday celebrations included dinner at North Italia and Lupe Tortilla with his grandparents and Gatlins, too, topped off with a Rockets game attended with friends Rick and Taylor Worley. Sounds like a young man’s dream birthday week!