Bernice Loree Walker, 99, of Tiffin, Mo., died Thursday, June 19, 2008, at Nevada Regional Medical Center. Shewas born April 25, 1909, in Warsaw, Mo., to James Milton Downs and Laura M. Taylor Downs. She was married Dec. 8, 1927, in Joplin, to George Lawrence Hoffman and he preceded her in death January 1947. She later married H. Clay Walker, in June 1968, and he precceded her in death September 1975.
Bernice grew up in the Tiffin and Osceola, Mo., area. She attended grade school in the old one room country schools at the Glendale and Sweet School and finished her eighth grade at Ararat School in the general Tiffin area. She attended high school in El Dorado Springs. During her high school years she rode a horse to and from home in the Tiffin area into El Dorado Springs on Monday mornings and retured to help on the family farm on Friday evenings. She stayed in El Dorado Springs with her aunt and uncle, George and Julia (Taylor) Griffith. She worked at the Griffith family restaurant for her room and board.
She commenced her church and Bible studies at an early age, attending the old Kinerly Chapel Church around Tiffin. Bernice and George accepted Christ as their Savior in the late summer of 1940 at the Pleasant Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, in Pacetown, both were baptized in the old Fain Family Branch pond. Bernice and George were active members of the church until George's death.
Later in 1947, after her husbands death, Bernice and her family moved to El Dorado Springs, and during the next three years she worked at the shoe factory, the high school cafeteria and the old Highway 54 Diner, in El Dorado Springs. She moved to Nevada in the fall of 1950 and worked at the Nevada State Hospital until her retirement in 1973. After her retirement from the state hospital, she worked for the next six months at the Shelley Restaurant Club at Cottey College, and a couple of years at the Highway 54 Cafe, both in Nevada. She finally retired in 1982 to her home and hobbies.
Bernice, until the last few years, loved to travel, sight-see, and visit her families. Bernice's main hobbies included yard work and gardening. Her social life included spending time with her family, friends and church. After moving to El Dorado Springs in 1947, she became a member of the First Baptist Church there until she moved to Nevada and moved her membership to the Nevada First Baptist Church, where she has remained a member.
In February of 2003, Bernice moved from Nevada back to the Tiffin area that she loved so much and close to where she was raised.
Survivors include three beloved children, Ronald Hoffman and his wife Pearl, the state of Washington, Claud Hoffman of El Dorado Springs, and Wanda Hiestand and her husband Myron of Tiffin; four grandchildren, Dennis A. Hoffman, the state of California, Anthony Paul Hoffman, the state of Arkansas, Claudia Lynn Hoffman-Miller, the state of California, and Rhonda Loree (Hiestand) Williams, Tiffin, Mo.; Clay Walker's children, who she loved, Virginia (Walker) Prescott, El Dorado Springs, and David Walker, the Kansas City area; several great-grandchildren and several nieces, nephews, cousins and hundreds of loving friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, both spouses, three sisters, Ola Downs, who died at an early age, Lola Friar and Irene Green, her mother's nephew, L.D. Taylor, who was raised from birth as a brother, and a cousin Mildred (Griffith) Gould.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 24, at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, with Dr. William Cox officiating. Interment will follow in El Dorado Springs City Cemetery, El Dorado Springs.
Friends may call from Saturday morning, June 21, until the hour of service on Tuesday.
The family suggests that memorials may be made in her honor to the El Dorado Springs City Cemetery in care of the funeral home.
"Our lives without her will never be quite the same, but knowing she is now resting in Peace in the Lord's House with Jesus and her loved ones, gives us the 'Spirit and Will' to continue with our lives until we again rejoin her in Heaven."