Dawn Elizabeth (Droskoski) Bertz, 50 of Middletown, Conn., passed away Sept. 29, with her family by her side after a long and extremely courageous battle with cancer. Dawn was incredibly strong and brave during the past year and a half, fighting hard to the very end. An outstanding artist and award winning designer, she worked with her family at the Bertz Design Group in Middletown, for 18 years. Her artwork is the central theme on four of the Durham Fair collector posters. Dawn was born on Valentine’s Day in 1966 and graduated from Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham, Conn., in 1984; attended classes at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.; Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.; and graduated from the University of Hartford Art School with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1989.

Her illustrations adorned handmade cards and envelopes she sent to friends and family, ignoring postal regulations by painting symbolic themes and messages across the envelopes. An example and central part of her personality, “following her own road,” not the path of others.

She is survived by her parents Theodore and Judith (Parlett) Bertz of Fort Myers, Fla.; her sister Christen L. Bertz of Durham, Conn.; sister Catherine E. (Katie) Kesten and her husband, Timothy Kesten of Middletown, Conn.; niece Brenna Goldberg of Durham, Conn., and many aunts, uncles and cousins from Ohio, Texas, California, Oregon and Hawaii. Dawn’s valiant fight was also supported by special family friends, Kara Parker and Kara’s mother, Shirley Pagano, both of Meriden, Conn., and her former husband and friend, John Droskoski of Norwich, Conn.

The family expresses their sincere thanks and gratitude to the entire staff of the Middlesex Hospital Hospice and Palliative Care Unit for their devoted and loving care of Dawn. Also they wish to thank all of the visiting nurses, companions, caretakers, wound care doctors, nurses, and support staff for their care. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Dawn’s memory to the Middlesex Hospital Hospice and Palliative Care Unit, 28 Crescent Street, Middletown, CT 06457.

Family and friends are welcome to join in a “Celebration of Life” for Dawn on Sunday, Oct. 23 at the Inn at Middletown, 70 Main Street, Middletown, Conn., between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.