Bernice Wilfong passed away on Nov. 5, 2013, in Emmett, Idaho.
Bernice was born on Dec. 14, 1930, in Sweet, Idaho, to James and Athena Kirkpatrick. She was raised on the family ranch in Sweet and was the oldest of three children. Despite being born during the Great Depression, Bernice had a happy childhood. She enjoyed growing up surrounded by many family and friends, riding horses, going on cattle drives and picking wild pansies while playing in the "rock houses."
Bernice married her high school sweetheart, Bert Wilfong, on Jan. 14, 1949. She wore a white satin wedding dress that her mother made for her on an old treadle sewing machine. Bert and Bernice made their first home at the Wilfong Ranch on the Emmett bench, where they welcomed their son Steve in 1952. In 1954, they moved to a ranch in Round Valley where they raised grain, clover seed, cattle, chickens and skunks! In 1955, Bert and Bernice moved to the Yergensen Ranch in Sweet where they welcomed their daughter, LeAnn. During this time Bernice was busy raising her children, getting involved in community projects and the PTA, gardening, canning and ranching.
Bert and Bernice then purchased the Bean Ranch on Squaw Creek in 1964 where they lived for 16 years. They remained in Sweet for the rest of their lives on the Kirkpatrick Ranch.
During her life, Bernice worked various jobs. When she was first married, she worked as a telephone operator ("Number please"). She also worked for many local fruit packing companies in addition to Sprouse Reitz and Harrison's Variety. Bernice's favorite job was working for her good friends, Leon and Helen Grider and Brenda Beers for 20 years at Grider's Greenhouse. Bernice always enjoyed gardening and flowers and thought it was so remarkable to plant a tiny seed and watch it grow with care into a beautiful flower or vegetable.
Bernice also loved her animals and had many favorite pets during her life. From her childhood dog Jackie, to her big collie Laddie, to Freckles and Sadie, her dogs and cats provided comfort and companionship in later years.
During her life, Bernice was always helping others. She took care of family and friends, visited the sick and elderly, delivered homemade cookies and never forgot to send a birthday card. She was an amazing grandmother and great-grandmother who took the time to play games, color, go outside and teach her grandchildren new things. Family was of utmost importance to Bernice and she loved when everyone gathered together for holidays, picnics and Sunday dinners. She was a hardworking and kind person who touched many lives.
Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Bert Wilfong; parents, James and Athena Kirkpatrick; and siblings, Mary Anna Alsager and Stanley Kirkpatrick.
She is survived by her children and their spouses, Steve and Jeanne Wilfong and LeAnn and Tom Carlsen. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Crystal and Troy Brown, Sally Wilfong, Jenny Carlsen-Vogt and Micah Vogt, John Carlsen and Rebecca Scofield, as well as two great-granddaughters, Kylee and Stephnee. Bernice is also survived by her and Bert's brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, as well as many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Emmett Serenity Living and River's Edge for their care and compassion.
Services were held at Potter Funeral Chapel on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, at 11 a.m. with graveside services immediately following at the Sweet-Montour Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sweet-Montour Cemetery.