Bernice Marie Hildebrand Joseph
1964 - 2014
Loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, auntie and friend Bernice Marie Hildebrand Joseph passed away Jan. 7, 2014. 
She was born March 12, 1964, in Tanana and raised in Nulato. Bernice graduated from Monroe Catholic High School, obtained a bachelor's and a master's degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and was working on her Ph.D, from the University of South Australia Adelaide. Bernice retired from UAF in May 2013.
She loved her hometown of Nulato very much; she and Stewart built a cabin where her family could spend precious time with her extended family and continue to participate in activities she was raised doing and loved. One of her most cherished highlights was fishing alongside her grandfather, Eddie Hildebrand, along the Yukon River for king salmon. She loved to visit Kaiyuh with her family and friends.
Bernice's tireless dedication to the education of our indigenous people was a passion of hers, one she was successful in accomplishing. Many of those who worked with her admired the energy she brought to every thing she did.
A typical day found Bernice outside partaking in activities such as berry picking, gathering smoke wood, fishing or running up the hill of Nulato. From a very young age, Bernice chose to live a healthy lifestyle; she was an avid runner and accomplished athlete, participating in events such as the Fairbanks Equinox, Race of the Torch, Midnight Sun Run and the circuit of village races with her husband by her side. 
She lived a traditional lifestyle of fishing and hunting, while seamlessly blending her traditional ways of life with the western ways. Her cultural knowledge and heritage was the foundation for advancement of her western education. Bernice always consulted respected community members in whichever region she was in before addressing the local community. She willingly shared her knowledge and wisdom with all who crossed her path.
"Belly laughs are good for the soul." Oftentimes, her friends found her in a crowd by her infectious laughter. She fully embraced life - dancing, music, sharing stories and traveling. She was a firm believer that you could achieve anything you put your mind to; any goal was attainable.
Bernice is survived by the love of her life, Stewart Joseph Sr.; her beautiful children, Alice and Derek; her mother, Edith, and stepfather, Victor Nicholas, and mother-in-law, Jenny Joseph; siblings, Kathleen Meckel, Bernard Hildebrand Sr., Victoria Hildebrand, Darrell Hildebrand, Rodney Hildebrand, Kristy Malamute and Bev Kokrine; grandparents, Eddie Hildebrand and Annie Hildebrand, and grandmother, Rita Esmailka; along with numerous aunts, uncles, cherished nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her grandmother, Alice Hildebrand; father, Barney Hildebrand, and her son, Stewart Joseph Jr.
There will be a celebration of life from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall. Immediately after, the family will fly her home to Nulato, and services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the hall, burial following. Bernice will be laid to rest beside her son, Stewy.
Published by Daily News-Miner on Jan. 9, 2014.
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47 Entries
May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, Rest In Peace?
Shannon Christensen
January 5, 2021
Rest in peave Bernice. It was such an honor to know you. I always remembered when you came to Dillingham when I graduated from their. We were so happy to see each other and you were very glad that I continued my education. Sending my deepest sympathy to the family.
Nadia Sifsof
January 27, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers to the family. Bernice was such an inspiration to those who knew her. God Bless
Mary & Herman Barger
January 23, 2014
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
January 23, 2014
To Kathleen and all your family our heart felt condolences from my family to yours.
Jim Pokrivnak
January 16, 2014
Prayers of Peace and Comfort to the Family~
January 15, 2014
My deepest sympathy to the family of Bernice. I feel very honored to have known Bernice, she was an inspiration to many and will be deeply missed. May the light she shared with us all, continue to be an inspiration.
Karen Evanoff
January 15, 2014
My thoughts and prayers to Bernice's family and friends.
Karlene John
January 14, 2014
Our sincerest condolences to the Joseph & Hildebrand families. Bernice was such a lovable, energetic woman and a role model to her people. May she rest in peace and God give her families peace and understanding.
Howard & Freda Beasley
January 14, 2014
My deepest condolences to the family of Bernice Joseph.
Kenneth Covell
January 14, 2014
Dance with the angels, my friend. God smiled on me the day I met you.

Condolences to the Joseph & Hildebrand families.
Rose Kairaiuak
January 14, 2014
I am lighting a candle in honor of the good and lasting work Bernice has done to promote Alaska Native and Rural education.
January 14, 2014
Bernice was always had a very welcoming personality. The first time I started working for the university, she was happy and encouraging. But she was always that way towards anyone, encouraging everyone to do their best. Her smile was like you and her knew a joke no one else knew about. We have been blessed to know a person with such a caring heart. Prayers and thoughts to her husband, children and extended family.
Kimberly Ansaknok
January 14, 2014
I first met Bernice about 19 years ago when I would run races in Fairbanks, like the Midnight Sun Run, Chena River Run, Mosquito Meander, equinox, etc. In most of the races there was this lady just in front and out of reach of me throughout the miles. It was Bernice. I used to see her in race after race and she was like an inspiration to me to run hard and fast and CHASE! But she was always stronger. She led me to personal bests though. Finally we officially met and began training together and enjoyed a long and rewarding friendship. She was so strong and vibrant, humorous, witty and beautiful. It was always a pleasure and a laugh to spend time with her.
God bless you Stu, Alice and Derek, and all her wonderful brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles who are very special to me. Love and hugs to you all.
Liller Diemont
January 10, 2014
God bless your family and give them the strength needed during this hard time.
Marie Dayton
January 10, 2014
I will remember you always my friend..
annette gilbert
January 10, 2014
Rest in Peace..Prayers for your family. Let them not be sad but happy you are not sick any more.
C Eberwein
January 10, 2014
Prayers for the family and God bless each one. May she Rest in Peace.
Judy Peter
January 10, 2014
We send our sincerest condolences during this difficult time to Stu, their children and Bernice's family and friends. What a huge loss; she really did fight the good fight. Prayers to you all.
Charlene Marth
January 9, 2014
Our prayers are with you all as you grieve the loss of this lovely woman. She was one of the first people I met when our boys were in second grade together. Love you, Bernice! Give Stewie a hug from us . . .
Shannon, Michael and Daniel Christensen
January 9, 2014
God bless you cuz Stewpot, Alice and Derek. Are thoughts are with all of you always. Love cuz Kathy and family
Kathy Bhatt (Merry)
January 9, 2014
Deepest sympathy and hugs to the Hildebrand family. Bernice was a beautiful lady inside and out! Rest in Peace Bernice.........2 Timothy 4:7.. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Wila Towarak Eckenweiler
January 9, 2014
Bernice was one of my math students while attending Monroe. I was privileged to have her in my class room.

Rod Hixon
Rod Hixon
January 9, 2014
My deepest condolences to the Joseph and Hildebrand families.
Sue Johnson
January 9, 2014
Stewart, Alice n Derek, Hildebrand family
Condolences for such a loss, God Bless you all with his strength, peace and grace. Continue the good fight ....
Evelyn James
January 9, 2014
May God comfort all who are grieving, Bernice was someone that made us all proud of being Alaskan Native, she lived the life and managed a busy career, you will never be forgotten for all you have done.. Rest in Peace!
Bonnie Thomas
January 9, 2014
my sincere prayers to Stew, Alice and Derek and the rest of the family my prayers are with you in the weeks to come. thank you so much for sharing her with us, she was an amazing Koyukon woman.
Mona Nollner
January 9, 2014
My deepest condolences to her Family! She was my mentor and supporter for many years and I will miss her greatly! She always reached out to me when I needed her most and I will now hold her close! Thank you to the family for sharing her with us also all these years!
Brenda Wilson
January 9, 2014
Bernice was a kind and gentle soul.
linda brooks
January 9, 2014
My deepest condolences to Stew, the kids and the whole family,May you rest in peace Bernice. god bless you stew n kids.
Tina and Austyn Demoski
January 9, 2014
Prayers and warm thoughts to the family and all those whom has been embraced by Bernice. My heart is heavy with grief for my good friend. I know she id in a better place and pain free which eases my thoughts for her. We were all so blessed to have had such a wonderful person in our lives.
Aggie Britt
January 9, 2014
To the family of Bernice, may you find comfort in knowing she is at peace now! No more hurt, no more pain, no more sadness! My heart goes out to all of you, as you prepare her for the final journey home! Hugs, Lucille Stickman & family, Juneau / Anchorage, Ak
Lucille Stickman
January 9, 2014
my condolances to the Family,I met Bernice at an Educational Conference, she was a well respected person and will be missed. RIP Bermice.
ted charles
January 9, 2014
I served on several committees with Bernice over the years and held her in the highest esteem. She was very smart, politically savvy, but most importantly, a genuinely caring human being. She was so positive and full of life; she literally lit up a room when she walked in. A true inspiration and someone I will never forget. My condolences to her entire family during this very sad time. She will be greatly missed.
Bonnie Nygard
January 9, 2014
My deepest condolences to her Family, I'm sorry to hear of her passing. I met her while I worked at Chukchi. Such a remarkable woman! God Bless you and your family, Stewart, Edith.
Byrd Norton
January 9, 2014
Our condolences to the family of my Ganaa' Bernice. May you rest in peace and may our Lord above give comfort to her loved ones. She was a lovely, fun and always had a smile when you saw her kind of person. She will be greatly missed.
Sharon/Paul Lestenkof
January 9, 2014
Last time I saw Bernice she was out berry picking with the entire family. You could tell she was savoring each moment and she was smiling away and laughing as always... Ana basee' to the Joseph and Hildebrand families for sharing her with all of us. While there is sadness in my heart there is also great joy that the Creator blessed us with her remarkable soul and I had the honor of knowing her.
Princess Johnson
January 9, 2014
May the Angels in Heaven welcome you home! I'll always cherish the moment of your hug on "graduation" day. Much love-n-prayers to the family!
Rosa Peter
January 9, 2014
Sincere condolences to the family. We will miss her dearly but prayers do comfort all of us. May she rest in pease.
Nita Y. Rearden
Alaska Native Education Association
Homer Alaska
January 9, 2014
From my first memories of Bernice, when she was a young girl to the last hug we shared recently; she never lost her beautiful smile, wonderful laugh and inspiring strength. Such beauty.
Gina Kalloch
January 9, 2014
While my heart hurts, it also rejoices in that Ber is now with the Lord. She's probably making Him chuckle at her silly jokes. My love and sincere condolences and blessings go out to my cousin Stew and the kids, as well as Edith and her other children. Love you so much.
Annie Huntington-Kriska
January 9, 2014
Stewart and Alice along with Derek I have no words, only a smile and a laugh that I will share often and forever.In honor of Bernice.Sending a HUG.
Sabie Gurtler-Jervsjo
January 9, 2014
My condolences to the family of Bernice. She was a remarkable lady. May her family find comfort during their time of grief as they take her home. And that they find peace knowing she no longer suffers.
Lyman Ketcham
January 9, 2014
I am very sorry for your loss. May the God of all comfort be with you during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort. My heartfelt condolences to the family during this time of sorrow. (1Corinthains 15:26)
January 9, 2014
My sincere condolences to the family.
Annie Koyukuk
January 9, 2014
Peace be with you on your journey, you inspire many to reach for their goals..
Ms. Tonya Esmailka
January 9, 2014
Rest in peace beautiful lady, you inspire many women who will follow in your steps towards success..
Tonya E.
January 9, 2014
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