Bernice Wheeler
1930 - 2020
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Bernice G. (Bourinot) Wheeler

NORTHBOROUGH - Bernice G. (Bourinot) Wheeler, of Northborough, formerly of Weston, Massachusetts. Our dear Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Great-Great Grandmother, Sister and Friend, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her loving family, on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, at the age of 90. Bernice was the beloved wife of 58 years to James T. Wheeler until his death in 2008.

Bernice, affectionately known to all as "Bernie" or "Tootsie", was born in Waltham, Massachusetts on February 22, 1930 and raised in Weston, Massachusetts, one of 6 children to the late David H. and Mary E. (Cotter) Bourinot. As a young woman, she worked as a waitress at the former Candyland in Waltham and subsequently, caught the attention of a young man James Wheeler. After their marriage, the young couple lived in Waltham for several years prior to relocating to Northborough in 1957.

With an optimistic outlook on life, Bernie made the most of what life had in store for her. No matter how busy her schedule, with 6 children, she would find solace while standing at her easel, perfecting her portrait drawings. Bernie was a self-taught gifted artist whose portraits adorned many homes of those she knew and loved as well as those who commissioned her work. Two of her favorite portraits were among President Kennedy's private collection and remained at the Kennedy Library archives until the late 90's when she was able to bring them home. She was a longtime parishioner at St. Rose of Lima Parish and was supportive of its Alter Society and TEC. She sang in the church choir for many years. Bernie assisted in the care of the parish rectory, helped care for the priests' vestments and provided artwork for the parish.

Bernie lived a fulfilling life and found solace in nature. She loved the mountains and spoke often of her favorite summer working for her Aunt Ellen with her cousin Diane at Streeter's Cabins in Jackson New Hampshire.

She was a wonderful mother to her 6 children and raised them all to follow the beat of their own drum. While raising her family Bernie would find the time to decorate cakes for neighborhood birthdays, school parties and weddings. Her creativity and sense of humor could cheer up any occasion. Her family will fondly remember school lunch surprises like a sandwich decorated as the Easter Bunny, green tuna fish on St Patrick's day or as a practical joke, a block of wood, wrapped and disguised as a piece of fudge!

Once her children left home, Bernie was interested in doing something that she would enjoy. She found this when she began working at Country Candle in Northborough. Bernie said it was never work at all but rather a place she loved to be, spending time with people whose companionship she loved dearly including; Dot Desposito, Joan and Jim Laurence as well as many others.

Bernie is survived by her five children and their families, Patrick and Marilyn Wheeler of Manchester, Vermont, Eileen Gamache and Ron of Chelmsford, Mass, John and Maureen Wheeler of Holden, Mass, Bob and Linda Wheeler of Northampton, Mass, and Elizabeth Steele of Northborough, 13 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild and her sisters, Ethel Grogan and Kathleen Bourinot. She is predeceased by her siblings, Edward Bourinot, David Bourinot and Loretta Lincoln and her beloved husband James, and their son, Michael.

The family extends its deepest gratitude to Jewish Homecare, Jewish Homecare Hospice and Worcester Homecare for their loving and tireless devotion to the care of our mother.

A private Mass of Christian Burial for family only will be celebrated at St. Rose of Lima Parish, 244 W. Main Street, Northborough. Burial will follow at the Howard Street Cemetery, Northborough. There are no public calling hours planned. Bernie's family respectfully suggests memorial contributions be made in her memory to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 (StJude.org) Arrangements are under the care of Hays Funeral Home, 56 Main Street, Northborough (www.HaysFuneralHome.com).



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Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Sep. 25 to Sep. 27, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Hays Funeral Home
Not sure what to say?
8 entries
September 29, 2020
Her memory holds a dear place in my heart and brings a smile. Sweet and precious are two words that are so appropriate. My love and prayers for all the Wheeler family and friends. Heaven is truly brighter for her presence there...
Tony Leslie
Friend
September 28, 2020
Beth, I am so sorry for your family's loss. Your mother was such a great lady. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Carolyn Magnuson
Friend
September 26, 2020
Beth, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Fond memories of your mom from our childhood, hanging out at the Wheeler house! A beautiful, kind-hearted woman!
Deirdre Horgan Smirl
Friend
September 25, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
The best Aunt ever Thanks for tye best childhood memories anyone could ever ask for!
Thanks for being such a great Aunt ❤
Roberta Kelly
Family
September 25, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
The best Aunt anyone could ever ask for , i will cherish all the memories of my childhood because of you !
love.
Roberta,Jake & Olivia
Roberta Kelly
Family
September 25, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
The best Aunt anyone could ever ask for , i will cherish all the memories of my childhood because of you !
love.
Roberta,Jake & Olivia
Roberta Kelly
Family
September 25, 2020
The Spathiphyllum Plant
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Patricia A Malloy
September 25, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. One of the best human being I have ever known. I love you Auntie Tootsie!!! Tell Mom and Nana Banana I said hello!!!
Pattie Malloy
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