Bernice Sims

bernice sims
Bernice Lillian Sims, the world’s oldest kid-at-heart and eternal optimist, passed away May 31, 2017, at Bethany on University. She left this earth after forever brightening the lives of others. Bernice loved to laugh and have fun, and often said people were too serious. She would want to make your day through an inspirational story rather than a somber epitaph. Bernice was born on July 15, 1927, on the family farm near East Grand Forks, MN, and graduated from Alvarado Public School in 1945. She completed one year at the College of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph, MN, where her claim to fame was clinching the ping-pong championship as the underdog. On April 12, 1947, she met her husband to be, Pershing E. Sims, at an Eagles dance in East Grand Forks. Pershing and Bernice danced the night away; he would not let her dance with anyone else! She described Pershing as the “kindest man ever” and he nicknamed her “Sparky” to mirror her bubbly personality and endless energy. They married on Sept. 16, 1947, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Tabor, MN. They farmed for three years, moved to Fargo in 1951, and later moved to Wahpeton, where they resided until 1963. The family moved to Enderlin and lived there until 1983, when the couple retired to Fargo. Pershing died in 1999 after a wonderful 52-year marriage. After only ten piano lessons as a child, Bernice went on to become a self-taught musician. Her children remember her late-night “concerts” after they were tucked into bed; the only rare minutes she had to herself. Motherhood came easy to Bernice because of her boundless love and easy-going nature. Later in life, when her children confessed of their earlier mischief, she merely said, “Oh you silly kids.” Bernice’s answer to most disappointments or losses was always, “Well, at least nobody got hurt.” This treasured saying has become the family’s mantra. Bernice taught her nine children the meaning of togetherness and the joy of laughter. Bernice loved to play cards, especially pinochle. When her grown children came home for weekend visits, Bernice was the last one to bed, always ready for “one more hand.” When the crew stumbled out of bed in the morning, she already had chicken and rice in the oven for Sunday dinner. How the woman existed on so little sleep is a miracle. Picking up the phone to her calls, you were often greeted with the song, “Because of you, there’s a song in my heart.” Either that or she’d ask if you had solved the Jumble in the newspaper each day. Only a few people would play Scrabble with her because she’d plunk down “zither” on the last play. In Fargo she and Pershing had a daycare business. She also worked for Hospice, Kelly Services, and American Cancer Society. She often said the most loving gift you can give anyone is your time. For over 20 years in retirement, Bernice played “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and other classics on the piano as a volunteer at area nursing homes. When she became a Bethany resident in 2013, she was the self-appointed goodwill ambassador, waving and smiling at everyone. Bethany staff treated Bernice like family, and her children are deeply grateful for their love and kindness. God and family were the center of her life, and her effervescent personality had a lasting effect on those she touched. Forever grateful are her children, Rodger Sims (deceased), and his wife Bonnie, Fargo; Philip Sims, Fargo; Marilyn (Jim) Kram, Fargo; Ken (Vickie) Sims, Moorhead; Patricia (Allen) Kukert, Moorhead; Dan (Shari) Sims, Grasston, Minn., Janet (John) Klocke, Fargo; Lori Sims (Vern Dosmann), Sarasota, Fla.; Lynae Sims (Mike), Moorhead; 26 grandchildren, and 41 great-grandchildren. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm with a prayer service at 7:00 pm on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center, Fargo. The funeral mass will be at 10:00 am on Monday, June 5, 2017 at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Fargo. Bernice’s final gift is to donate her body to the UND medical school, so there will be a private burial at a later date. In lieu of flowers -- be kind to others, be happy and count your blessings – Bernice would have wanted that. And if you don’t already know the game, for goodness sake, learn how to play pinochle.

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  1. John and Jan, my sincere sympathy to you and your family. Though I didn’t know Bernice, Jan, you have the sweetest soul. She must have been a gem.

  2. May the Father who knew what it meant to lose a Son fill you all through the Holy Spirit with His resurrection hope.

  3. Blessings on your family. Bernice was a constant smile and welcome face at St. Anthony’s … especially when we were new to the parish. Her spirit of hospitality lives on.
    God bless you.

  4. Jan and John, Jan your mother was one wonderful person I just loved her and when she was up and around she would come into the store and her and I would have one big gab fest. She always uplifted my mood and sprirts. I will miss her. My thoughts and prayers are with your whole family.

  5. I just heard today of you Mothers passing. The last of one generation of siblings going on before us is always sad. But with the promise of Jesus Christ and the endless perfection and beauty of heaven, there is ample reasons to rejoice for our loved ones, especially our Mothers who have loved and nurtured us our entire lives. Love and condolences Francis Pribula.

  6. Janet and all Sims Family, My sincere sympathy to all of you at your Mom’s passing. She was such a sweet lady, always so welcoming to many during our school days in Enderlin. She always had a smile for everyone, and what a beautiful smile it was.
    My prayers are with you all during this time.

  7. Jan and John,
    What a lovely article and tribute to your mom. She sounds like a person who was a blessing to all she knew. We will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
    Gary and Debbie Hagen

  8. So sorry for your loss, Ken and family. It’s always hard to say goodbye. Hugs and prayers.
    Larry and Linda

  9. Lori, So sorry to hear of your Mother’s passing. She was a kind person and I have many memories of being at your home, watching TV in the “piano room” and being amazed at how big your dining table was! God bless you and your siblings as well as their families. Jayne Larson Ekre

  10. I am so sorry to hear of your mothers passing. She loved to play bingo. That’s where we became friends. She always had a smile on her face and I had nicknamed her Smiley. Please accept my condolences at this difficult time.

  11. Dear Cousins,

    Aunt Betnice will always be remembered by us as the aunt who always saw the good, as well as the fun in everyone, and everything.
    I’ll never forget how Aunt Bernice, and my Mom,
    ( Marie Pribula ) would laugh, and enjoy being together at any family gathering.

    Blessed be the memory of wonderful person.

    Jim and Jane Pribula

  12. Lori, I am sorry to read of your mothers death. From her obituary you will have wonderful memories. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  13. My deepest sympathy to Bernice’s family. I got to know Bernice because of being a volunteer at Bethany. She was such a delight to know – always happy and smiling. She had such a deep faith in God. She will be missed by many, I’m sure.

  14. The Dalos family of Enderlin offers our sympathy to the Sims family. We have many good memories of Bernice and family. I will have a mass said at St. Patrick’s Church of Enderlin in Bernice’s honor. God Bless.

  15. Our deepest sympathy to you at this sad time of your Moms passing. She was a very special lady & friend to so many who knew her. She had a caring for everyone who knew her. She always had a smile on her face. We know she will be missed by her loving family & friends. You are in our thought & prayers.

  16. John and Jan, your world has shifted a little. Whenever I saw Bernice, she would acclaim that I was the best boss she ever had! Even if it wasn’t completely true, I loved the compliment. And I don’t think I ever saw ever without a smile. I hope all the memories comfort your family right now.

  17. Dear Cousins,
    May the Lord’s Peace be with you! Aunt Bernice showed so much hospitality, loving all her nieces and nephews like her own children. She was the expression of real love. How fitting that she should die on the feast of the Visitation of Our Blessed Mother Mary. I am sure our Lord had her room prepared in Heaven in a most beautiful way. I am so glad we were able to hear her stories at the Pribula reunion last June 2016. She gave her all to Our Lord. I pray that all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren follow her example of faith! Love Carol Pribula, niece

  18. Ken and family, our deepest sympathy to you on the passing of your mother. God give you comfort at this very difficult time. Stefan and I will pray for you all and for your mother. Hold on to the many memories. Stefan & Bev Arey

  19. While I didn’t know Bernice personally, I certainly remember her smiling face in church. Her joyful demeanor certainly lives on through her family members that I have the blessing of knowing. My condolences to your family.

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