It was no surprise that several hundred people came to the April 14 memorial service at Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito for Patty Berndt.

It seemed like she knew everyone in town -- and beyond -- and they knew her and wanted to pay respects.

Berndt, who died March 30 at age 81, was deeply involved in the community for decades, much of it as a volunteer.

Just some of the organizations she devoted time to included Contra Costa Civic Theatre, the Fairmont School PTA, Love is the Answer (LITA) of Contra Costa County, the American Cancer Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Thumbelina Chapter of Children's Home Society, Our Club, the El Cerrito Women's Club, Northminster Presbyterian Church and the Inner Wheel chapter of the Rotary Club of El Cerrito.

Berndt, a Berkeley native, was also the secretary for many years at the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce and wrote columns for the West County Times and El Cerrito Journal.

And as you might expect, she was a devoted mother and grandmother.

In a note she wrote before her passing, Berndt said that "What better way to use your life than as a giving servant, first to your family, and then to the community where there is a need."

Happy Earth Day: Here are some of the events being held April 20 for Earth Day.

El Cerrito has work parties at locations around town -- including Baxter Creek, the Ohlone Greenway and the Hillside Natural Area -- from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by a celebration at the Community Center, 7007 Moser Lane.

Details: 510-215-4350 or earthday@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

  • El Sobrante welcomes volunteers to help tend to San Pablo Creek from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the El Sobrante Library, 4191 Appian Way. The creek group SPAWNERS will be planting trees and have arts and crafts, hands-on activities, children's games, food and prizes.

  • The Wildcat Creeks Challenge is 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at two locations. Meet at Verde Elementary School, 2000 Giaramita Street, or at the Richmond Parkway between Gertrude and Pittsburg avenues to help "clean Wildcat Creek and collect data on creek pollution to inform policy makers."

    Free refreshments provided. Details: 510-224-4085 or juliana@thewatershedproject.org.

  • Berkeley has a shoreline cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at Shorebird Park Nature Center, Berkeley Marina, 160 University Ave.

  • Volunteers will be weeding, planting, mulching from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Terrace Park in Albany.

    WEST COUNTY NOTES: Comedian and Richmond native Ronnie Schell is back in the area for a pair of appearances.

    "America's slowest rising young comedian" will be at the Vacaville Opera House at 4 p.m. April 21, with tickets available by calling 707-446-4441 or going to the box office at 560 Main St. in Vacaville.

    A second engagement will be at Silo's, 530 Main St. in Napa at 8 p.m. May 3. Tickets and details are available at www.silosnapa.com or 707-251-5833.

  • A team of students from Albany High School is competing this weekend at the 16th annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Teams are selected from regional competitions involving some 2,000 students from 300 schools nationwide. The AHS team represents the Sea Lion Bowl.

    "The students that compete in this competition represent the next generation that will lead the charge in addressing issues that affect our Earth, specifically the ocean and climate," according to organizers.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.