Bernice Ilene Stiffler Peters
87, Westfield, passed away Thursday, February 7, 2013. She was born on October 8, 1925 to Samuel Ross, a journeyman machinist with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Laura M. (Kane) Stiffler in Juniata Gap, Altoona, PA. She attended the Mardorf Methodist Church with her family and was also a member of Order of Rainbow for Girls. Growing up, she enjoyed swimming, dancing, and ice skating at Lakemont Park. She had a strong interest in music, literature, and dramatics, and studied piano from a young age and sang in the a capella choir of the Altoona High School. She participated in numerous high school theatrical events including "Plane Crazy," (Stewart, D.R., "Plane Crazy" , Geneva College, 1942) a contemporary play about wartime hardships. Bernice graduated from of Altoona High School in 1943.
She attended Penn State University, where she was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Arts and Letters (see Altoona Mirror, June 9, 1947 pp 21). During the program, she served a short time as a student elocution instructor for underprivileged children in Dover, Delaware, and ultimately earned the qualifications to teach English, Speech, and Speech Corrections. After living on Long Island for several years, she moved to Philadelphia, and earned a M.A. in Library Science from Drexel in 1958. In 1958 she was elected into the Beta Phi Mu honorary library science fraternity.
Upon graduation from Drexel, she held a position of children's librarian at the historic Abington Library in Jenkintown, PA, where she showcased the works of favorite local author Kathryn Milhous, including the Caldecott Award winning story, "The Egg Tree."
She moved to Indiana in the late 1950s to be closer to other family members. Upon moving to Indiana, she served as a librarian/teacher at the North Central High School, but ultimately made her career with the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library System (IMCPL). Initially she served as a children's librarian at the Brown, Emerson and Laurence branches. In 1964, while at the Brown branch, she was chosen by the American Library Association to support the Library/USA exhibit at the New York World's Fair, where she worked on site for 6 weeks (see "Shh! Computer In Library," Indpls Star Dec 7, 1964, pp 10). Ultimately, she served as head librarian at the Broadway, West Lane, and Pike Libraries, retiring in 1988.
She married Eugene R. Peters on January 8, 1966, had one son, Mark, and, for the last 40 years, resided at her home in Westfield. She was a member of the Carmel United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School and volunteered at the church's "Tot Teen" shop and as a ladies aid. In her free time she enjoyed sewing, gardening, travel, and animals. During her life she had many animals, including Patty, her childhood Collie dog, and in later years, Mandy, a Fox Terrier, and several cats.
She is survived by her loving husband Gene of 47 years; their son Mark; brother Harold Stiffler; niece Nan Stiffler Britton; and 3 nephews: Eric, David, and Randall Stiffler. Bernice was preceded in death by her parents and brother Wilfred Stiffler.
Visitation will be held in the Chapel of Carmel United Methodist Church on Monday, February 11, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. The funeral service will follow at 2:00 p.m. with Reverend Jack King officiating. Leppert Mortuary, Smith Carmel Chapel, is assisting the family during their loss.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607; The Potters Wheel, 333 Jefferson Avenue, Evansville, IN 47713; or Carmel United Methodist Church, 621 S. Rangeline Road, Carmel, IN 46032. If you would like to sign the online guest book or send condolences to the family you may do so by visiting http://www.leppertmortuary.com.
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