BERNA DEAN DARMS
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December 22, 1931 - July 27, 2013
Berna Dean Darms, 81, passed away peacefully on July 27, 2013. She was born in Kansas City, Missouri, December 22, 1931 to Helen and Bernard Tennis. At eight years old, she moved with her parents and sister, Hazel, to Los Angeles, California. Bernie graduated from El Monte High School in 1949, and then attended Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. During her nursing school days she met Clifford Darms. They married in 1951 and made their home in West Covina.
Although diagnosed at age 21 with scleroderma, an auto-immune disease, Bernie raised four healthy children with Cliff. She credited Prevention Magazine and her nursing background for her decision to begin a mega-vitamin regimen that would keep her healthy for the next 60 years. During those years, she enjoyed organic gardening, reading, conservative politics, and her numerous cats and dogs.
While raising her family, she worked as a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital. Bernie also helped Cliff as a bookkeeper at Darms Sheet Metal. She became Director of Nurses at Beverly Manor Convalescent Hospitals in West Covina, Whittier, and Burbank during the late 70's and early 80's. After earning her administrator license at night school, she later became the Administrator of the Burbank Beverly Manor Convalescent Hospital. It was during these years that Bernie served as President of California's Long Term Care Nursing Association. After leaving nursing, she established The Chocolate Florist candy store in San Dimas. When Martha's Candies in Glendora came up for sale, she combined The Chocolate Florist and Martha's Candies at the Glendora location. Bernie was always involved in the community, including the Glendora Chamber of Commerce.
After Cliff passed away in 2005, Bernie divided her time visiting her three remaining children, with extended stays in Phoenix, San Diego, and Middletown, CA. After 53 years in West Covina, Bernie moved to Middletown. There she volunteered at the local thrift store, got involved with the senior community, and attended the Middletown Community United Methodist Church.
Bernie will be remembered as a strong, independent, civic-minded woman, passionate about all her endeavors. Her caregiver's heart went beyond a career in nursing and was reflected throughout her life.
Berna Dean is survived by her sister, Hazel; children, Daniel (Kathy), Teresa (Steven), and Thomas (Linda); four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Pamela, and her husband, Clifford.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, August 18, at the Middletown Community United Methodist Church at 3:00 pm. A graveside service will be held August 22 at Forest Lawn-Covina Hills, at 12:00 pm., followed by an open house reception hosted by Hazel French in Chino.
God Bless you, Bernie. We love you and will miss you.
Published in San Gabriel Valley Tribune from Aug. 16 to Aug. 18, 2013