Another of the “Great Depression” era farm kids went to sleep for the last time. Bernice rode her childhood pony, Ted, off into the sunset on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 at Bethany on 42nd Retirement Living in Fargo. With Bernice’s deep faith she was ready to leave Earth to be with Jesus and free of pain. Free at last.
Bernice Michelson was born to Philip and Minnie Michelson on August 7, 1926 at the family farm near Martin, ND. She was the only girl of 4 older and 2 younger brothers. Bernice often told of the frequent teasing by all of them, yet cherishing them all. Despite the extreme hardship on the farm during the “Dirty 30s,” Bernice told that she wouldn’t have traded her growing up years for anywhere else.
After graduation from Martin High School in 1944, Bernice obtained a teaching certificate from Pierce County, ND. She taught for a short time at a country school.
While employed at the NW Bell Telephone Company in Harvey, she met a co-worker’s brother who had returned from the service. Bernice married Julean Lee on April 6, 1947. They got a taste of “big city” life in Kansas City, MO in the late 1940s while Julean attended trade school and Bernice was employed at SW Bell as a switchboard operator. With their return to this area, Bernice was a switchboard operator at the Fairmont Creamery in Moorhead until 1956.
She then devoted her life to homemaking and providing home daycare until 1973. Once again, the switchboard called Bernice to St. Luke’s Hospital (now Sanford) in Fargo until her retirement in 1991.
She and Julean enjoyed many senior vacation trips throughout much of the US and part of Canada. In 2003, Bernice lost her beloved Julean but remained in their home until 2012 when she became a resident of Bethany on 42nd. She felt very blessed to reside where there is such a kind and caring staff.
Bernice was preceded in death by her brothers, Ruben (Violet), August (Ruth), Edwin (Verna), Hilmer (Betty), Clifford, and Roland.
She is survived by her son, Brian (Edie), Fargo, daughter, Brenda (Tim) Schwanke, Grey Eagle, MN, grandson, Jared (Brianna) Lee, St. Louis Park, MN. Also surviving Bernice are sisters-in-law, Lois Michelson, Woodburn, OR, Bonnie McKinley, Vancouver, WA, Susan Lee, Seattle, WA, Martha Lee, Fargo, Shirley Disher, Seattle, and brother-in-law, Richard (Nancy) Lee, Gully, MN, step-grandchildren, Arien Schwanke, Grand Portage, CO, Aubrey (Chuck) Matteson, Sparks, NV, Lacy (fiancé Adam Townsend) Masog, Big Lake, MN, step great-grandchild, Greysen Townsend, Big Lake, MN and many nieces and nephews.
Bernice’s family would like to express sincere appreciation and thanks to the staff at Bethany on 42nd for the kind support and friendship shown to her the entire time she was a resident. You brought her much happiness and we are grateful.
Funeral Service: 10:00 A.M. Thursday, April 20, 2017 at the Larsen Chapel at Bethany on 42nd, Fargo with visitation starting at 9:00 A.M.