Berniece Joan Clarke, age 93 of Miller, formerly of Wessington, S.D., died Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. Visitation with the family present will be Tuesday, Oct. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service and Eastern Star rites all at the Rembold Funeral Home in St. Lawrence. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the Presbyterian Church in Wessington with internment at the Wessington Cemetery immediately following the service. American Legion Auxiliary graveside services will be held at the gravesite prior to the committal service.
Berniece was born March 19, 1920 to Henry and Mabel (Lee) Muhs at the family farm located in the Wessington Hills seven miles south of Vayland, S.D. She attended elementary school at the Muhs School. Berniece attended a portion of her high school freshman year in New Rockford, N.D., before transferring to Wessington High School from which she graduated as a member of the class of 1938.
During her high school years and prior to her marriage to Ralph Clarke June 16, 1940, she worked for several families in Wessington and Vermillion. During the early years of the 68-plus years of their marriage, she and Ralph farmed in the Wolsey and Wessington areas. After the sale of their dairy herd in the 1940s, Berniece worked at several jobs to help support and provide an education for their four children, the most notable of which were bookkeeper at the Hayes-Lucas Lumberyard (later United Building Center) in Wessington and a kitchen manager for Aberdeen Public Schools.
Berniece was an active member of the Wessington First Presbyterian Church and Ladies Aid Society, Eastern Star, Wessington Women’s Study Club and Watson-Krauter American Legion Post 110 Auxiliary. She was a more than 25-year participant in the SD Cooperative Home Extension Program, and served as a 4-H leader for several years. An avid reader and advocate of education, she supported the Wessington Library, was a PTA member and encouraged her children and grandchildren to earn baccalaureate and graduate degrees.
Though she and Ralph resided in Edgeley, N.D., and Aberdeen for several years, they always considered Wessington their home, retiring there during 1986. She and Ralph enjoyed attending Twins games and bus trips to historic sites in the eastern U.S. during their happy golden years. During the later years of her life she moved to Miller to be closer to Ralph during much of his nearly ten years in the Good Samaritan Society Home, then moving to the Center herself in 2010.
Berniece is survived by three of her four children, Marge (Guy) Kleinsasser, Norfolk, Neb., Dennis (Joan), Pierre; and Jack (Jeanne), Britton; daughter-in-law Gloria (Roger), Ottertail, Minn.; 11 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren; her sisters Shirley Ricker, Vancouver, Wash.; Jean Daetwiler Parsons, Kan.; Audrey Larson, and Patricia (Aldon Schimke) Nagel, Huron; and brother Wayland (Florence), Las Vegas, Nev.; brothers-in-law Lester, Aberdeen and Roy, Miller; and sister-in-law Jean Clarke (Donald), Wessington, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Ralph, son Roger, daughter-in-law Audrey and granddaughter Elizabeth (Dennis), brother and sister-in-law Floyd (Rusty) and Jean Muhs, sister Mary, sisters-in-law Charlotte (Lester) Clarke and Betty (Roy) Clarke, and brothers-in law Delton Larson, Harry Nagel, George Ricker, Donald Clarke and Alvin Daetwiler.
Rembold Funeral Home of St. Lawrence has been entrusted with Berniece’s arrangements. Friends and family may sign Berniece’s online register at www.remboldfuneralhome.com.
Berniece Clarke 1920-2013