In thanksgiving for the "beautiful legacy" she left, her surviving children, Bill and Patrick (Mary died in 2011), have made arrangements to have Catholic masses celebrated this Sunday in her honor on six of the seven continents she traveled to and made friends on throughout her life. Events will be held in Vladivostok and Paris in Europe, several spots in North America, South America, Australia and Africa. In addition, Buddhist ceremonies of remembrance will be held on the continent of Asia in Sri Lanka and in Washington, D.C.
It took months of planning, shared son Bill, to make the arrangements with the many Catholic churches.
Bernice spent half her life in Storm Lake.
The Eastern girl moved to the home town of her late husband, William H., in 1943. She enjoyed her life in the small town and was active in the community and church.
"Bernice loved her children, family, and friends as only someone with her Irish heritage could," her family shared in her obituary.
William H. died in 1963 and for many years she managed the family farms, proud of her knowledge of the agriculture business.
She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1993 and made a home for son Bill and daughter Mary.
She accompanied her son on many trips he made throughout the world for his work as an interpreter for the State Department, making many friends along the way. One of her very favorite spots was Geneva, Switzerland.
Bill shared that his mother was described as a "citizen diplomat" and how proud he was to hear that from top officials in other countries.
"She was glamorous and well-charmed," he said, adding many younger women found her a perfect role model as to how to age in grace, beauty, and wisdom.
"I am tickled how this worked out," Bill said. "It is a great way - on her 100th birthday - to remember the joy she shared. She continues to live on in spirit."