At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Bernice King was a blessing to all who were near. She was a longtime resident of the community she loved, and she was the sort of woman who would do whatever she could for those around her. There was no greater gift in Bernice’s life than her family, and she was happiest when surrounded by their love. Someone who valued what really matters in life, she was an inspiration to so many. Life will never be the same without Bernice here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
It was great to be an American during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Innovation was leading the way to new technology like radios, washing machines, and motion pictures in both color and sound. It was during this exciting time that Bernice was born in an old farmhouse in Bloomfield Hills in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, on April 3, 1925. She was one of two as she had a fun-filled childhood alongside her brother, Leonard. Bernice’s family later moved to Amy, Michigan, which was later renamed Auburn Heights and then Auburn Hills.
In many ways, Bernice was a typical young girl of her generation and a bustle of activity right from the start. She loved playing softball and beating the boys on her “flexible flyer” sled. Bernice’s father was a professional landscaper who developed and groomed several of the large estates in and around Bloomfield Hills while her mother focused her time and attention at home. While growing up Bernice liked to help tend to the flower gardens with her mother, and for the rest of her life flowers were a major part of her life. She also enjoyed hunting and fishing with her father as she was a nature lover who spent every moment she could outdoors. Bernice enjoyed spending time with friends, playing tennis, ice skating, and being a Girl Scout. As a student at Auburn Heights Schools, she excelled in her studies and was also in the glee club and played the accordion in the school orchestra and dance band. Popular among her peers, Bernice was class treasurer during her junior and senior years, and she also played on the girls tennis team. Bernice went on to graduate from high school with honors as she was third in her class in 1942. In addition to playing the accordion, she played the piano and also gave lessons. Bernice continued her education at Pontiac Business Institute, earning her degree there. She then spent her career as a bookkeeper for various churches over the years.
It was while working for a church in Pontiac, Michigan, that Bernice’s life was forever changed when she met her true love. His name was Vernon King, and he and his father were called to fix the windows of the church in the aftermath of a hailstorm. Vernon asked her out within a couple of days, and the rest is history as they say. Bernice and Vernon dated for almost three years before becoming husband and wife on July 1, 1950. Together they welcomed their daughter, Vicki, into their hearts and home on December 18, 1952. Bernice’s family fully appreciated her cooking skills, and among the family favorites were her spaghetti with sauce made from scratch that took at least eight hours to cook. Golumpkies (stuffed cabbage leaves) and a German coconut/pecan cake were also among her specialties. Bernice was an animal lover, and there were usually animals as a part of her family. Her husband gave her a little black scottie terrier named Blackie right after they were married. They also had a second later in life. Later, they moved to a farm with several dogs, and the family also raised quarter horses. Barn cats came with the farm, and Bernice even tolerated the white mouse that Vicki kept in a cage in her bedroom. When her family later grew to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she couldn’t have been more thrilled as there was nothing she loved more than being all together no matter what they were doing. She was there for her granddaughter’s school events and activities and also for the events and activities of her two great-grandchildren as her health allowed.
Over the years Bernice was one to keep busy. Working as a bookkeeper found her primarily keeping the books and working as an administrator for churches, retiring from Plymouth Congregational Church of East Lansing in December of 1992. Following her retirement and her move to Portage, Bernice worked part-time for the state Eastern Star office. Bernice continued to love being out in nature, and traveling with family and friends was also a favorite. As the years went by she built an impressive collection of salt and pepper shakers, and she also collected anything rooster and hen. Bernice spent the past 10 years playing hand chimes at the Portage Senior Center on a weekly basis, and she also went to a weekly exercise class. At home she kept busy planting and tending to her flowers as well as watching Detroit Tiger baseball and listening to music of all kinds, especially big band and swing.
All who knew Bernice King would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was cheerful, always smiling, and someone who taught others to make the most of each day they were given through the life she lived each day. A friend of hers was a friend for life, and it was no secret that Bernice was married to her true companion. Resourceful and hardworking, she learned to use both her money and time wisely from her father, which became lessons she passed on to her loved ones as well. Deeply loved, Bernice will be forever missed by all who were blessed to know and love her.
Bernice King of Portage, MI, passed away on July 1, 2019. Bernice is survived by her daughter: Vicki (Charles) Bailey; granddaughter: Shannon Melvin; and great-grandchildren: Tiffany and Logan Melvin. Bernice was preceded in death by her husband: Vernon King; and brother: Leonard Brandt. A memorial service will be held on Monday, July 15 at 2 p.m. with a visitation one hour prior at McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes (Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society), 5975 Lovers Lane Portage, MI 49002. Special speakers will be: Pastor Ed Schmidt of Lakeland Reformed Church in Vicksburg; Eastern Star: Corinthian Chapter 123; nephew: Doug King to give the eulogy; and great granddaughter: Tiffany Melvin to sing a vocalist piece. Please visit Bernice’s page at www.mccowensecord.com where you can sign the guestbook, share a memory, or archive a photo. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Portage Senior Center.