Bernice M. Bower, four days shy of her 100th Birthday, passed away on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 surrounded by her family. The family will receive friends on Friday, December 10, 2021 from 5:00PM-7:00PM at Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home in Midland, TX. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 1:00PM at Westside Church of Christ. Burial will be held on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 1:30PM at Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, TX.
Bernice was born at home on December 12, 1921, to Selma and Felix Moore in El Paso, TX. Selma, a single mother to Bernice and four older siblings, worked at the Poplar for thirty-five years to support her family during the Depression. Bernice spent much of her childhood as both a camper and counsellor at Ghost Ranch, a summer camp for underprivileged children.
During World War 2 while on a double blind date with someone else, she met her future husband, Freeman Ellis Bower. They were married on July 11, 1941 at a small, intimate ceremony. Freeman’s military service brought them to California, where Bernice washed dishes and cooked for boys at a boarding house to pay for rent, while raising their first child. The boys here taught her to become a master Hearts player. After a few more moves, Freeman and Bernice ended up in El Paso, raising their family of three children, Ronald, Karen, and Roger. Later in life, she received a bachelor’s degree at Texas Western College (now UTEP) and taught 3rd grade for several years.
Bernice had a love for cooking and entertaining- always hosting family events at their house. She especially went all out at Christmas. She was at the center of planning extravagant family reunions- bringing people together and keeping everyone fed and entertained was her joy. Bernice was always game for whatever adventure came her way- be it travelling, hiking, fishing, camping, or anything else no matter her age.
Later in life, she and Freeman took many RV trips all over the Western US where they met many lifelong friends from all over the world. They would travel for summer-long adventures, and even took up square dancing while acting as campground hosts.
Service to others characterized her life. She volunteered preparing and taking food to the poor in Juarez and a big part of it was with Project Vita. Bernice also worked with Meals on Wheels, singing at Terrace West-taking care of people younger than her, and various church activities, events, and services. She and Freeman cared for her mother in their home for many years until to her mother’s death.
After Freeman’s death in October 2003, she moved to Midland to be near her son, Roger. She spent the remainder of her years serving others until she peacefully passed away at home surrounded by family.
She is survived by: Son, Ronald (Rena); Daughter, Karen; and Son, Roger (Tami); and numerous grand and great grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by Freeman Bower, husband.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home (Portales, NM) or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Midland. Online condolences can be made at www.npwelch.com.