Juanita Bernice Koonce, 91, of Mendota, formerly of Vandalia and Mulberry Grove, passed away on November 7, 2020, at OSF St. Anthony's Medical Center in Rockford, surrounded by her family.
Private services for family and UPC of Mendota church family will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday at United Pentecostal Church. The Rev. Charles Yeakel will officiate, with additional affirmations from Rev. Wendell Maynard and Rev. Lloyd Dunaway. Burial will be in Restland Cemetery, Mendota. A public visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Friday at United Pentecostal Church, Mendota. COVID-19 restrictions will be observed, with masks and social distancing required. Memorials: The family. Wasmer Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Online condolences can be expressed at www. wasmerfuneral.com.
Bernice was born March 10, 1929, in Vandalia, the daughter of Joseph Henry and Mildred Juanita (Keppler) Spicer. She married Harold L. Koonce on Nov. 20, 1948, in Vandalia.
She graduated from Vandalia Community High School in 1947. Bernice and Harold began their ministry in the small town of Mulberry Grove in 1966. They started their first church there, and remained for 11 years. In 1977, they moved to Mendota, where they fostered and flourished the UPC church family until 2003. Though the retirement began in 2003, they remained part of the church faithful, and participated in all facets of the church. Bernice was involved in the Women With a Purpose group of UPC. She loved to cook, bake, crochet, sew and read. She was the Manager of "Hotel Koonce," handling the revolving door of friends and family with joy and grace. She lived by example and was a true icon of the UPC community. Bernice loved her large extended family, and along with her husband, and serving her Lord and Savior, these were the greatest joys of her life.
Bernice is survived by her husband; daughters, Devra (Rev. Charles) Yeakel of Mendota, and Jana (James) Trembly of Mendota; sons, Danny (Vicki) Koonce of Brownstown, Michael (Kay) Koonce of Vandalia, and the Rev. Timothy (Polly Ann) Koonce of Wapella; 13 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Norma Jean Keeling; a brother in infancy, Billie Jo; and a daughter-in-law: Janet Koonce.
Published by The Leader-Union from Nov. 10 to Nov. 18, 2020.