Bernita was born on November 22, 1936, in the same house as her dad in Dexter, Minnesota. Every seven years her birthday lands on Thanksgiving. Her parents were farmers who raised livestock and crops. Her dad was a real pet-lover who at one time had 13 dogs on the farm. They moved to Adams (closer to the Iowa border) when Bernita was five. She had six siblings with three brothers and three sisters. Sadly, only Bernita and her younger brother are still living.
Their mom was crippled at age 32 with arthritis so Bernita had to help with the homemaking and farm chores as well as watching over her younger siblings. She attended and graduated from the school in Adams. After graduation, she wanted to become a nurse, but money was tight, and she couldn’t afford to go to school.
Bernita moved to Austin and worked as a waitress in a restaurant. Her roommate was dating a man in the military. One of his friends, Vernie, stopped over to visit and asked Bernita on a date. Unfortunately, he never showed up. Turns out he couldn’t remember her name and didn’t have her number. He later came into the restaurant to see her and admitted why.
Vernie served in the Navy as a deep-sea diver. He got out a few days before meeting Bernita in 1956. They met in June and married in January. Vernie worked for Honeywell as a pipefitter Together they had three daughters, Jayme, Cindy and Karen, and one son, Vernie, III. When their son went to kindergarten, Bernita went to work. She spent most of her career as a dental assistant before changing jobs to work at a print shop before she retired. However, not one to stay inactive, Bernita went back to work at Apollo Insurance part-time for an additional 12 years. While Vernie and Bernita were raising their family, they were active in the VFW and Auxiliary. Bernita called BINGO and she “moved up the chairs” climbing the ranks from Chaplin to President. She also stayed busy sewing matching outfits for her girls and attending the kids’ sporting events. After their 25th wedding anniversary, Bernita and Vernie flew to California on their way to their niece’s wedding in Seattle. The trip was especially memorable because they got left behind when the plane left early. They were waiting for their flight in the airport bar. They also traveled to VFW and Auxiliary conferences in Chicago, Dallas, and other places.
Bernita has always had a vivacious, outgoing personality. She had been a dedicated caregiver, helping to care for her mom at a young age on the farm. Her mom was in the nursing home for about 10 years before she passed away, one month before her first grandson was born. She’s always been very dedicated to her family and loves spending time with them. Cindy now lives in Coon Rapids, Karen lives in Blaine and Vernie (her son) lives in St. Cloud. They have 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, ranging from 14 years old to one month. Sadly, her husband, Vernie, passed away on January 29, 2017, and her daughter, Jayme, passed away recently.
Bernita sold her home and moved into Good Shepherd nine months ago. She’s learned that she likes having people just down the hallway. The best part is that she can do as much or as little as she wants and that her neighbors watch out for each other.