Bernice was born on May 11, 1922, in Hayfork, California. She spent her younger years in Northern California, and married Russell Gerald Frey in Chico, California in 1939. She had 5 children, and lived in San Jose, California until 1960, when the family moved to Elmira Oregon, due to changes in Russ’ health and work situation. Bernice provided for the family during Russ’ extended hospital stay, working as a janitor. She moved to Portland in 1964.
Bernice had always provided homes and shelter for whomever was in need, and after her original family left home, she cared for scores of foster children and young mothers in need of care. She worked with critical and impaired children in a care facility, and then took in 4 permanent placement foster children from the facility where she worked. They moved to Vernonia in 1977, seeking a safe, accepting and encouraging community for her new charges, in a country atmosphere. Russ died in 1988, but Bernice continued raising her new family, and even took in a couple of her grandchildren when the need arose. Starting about 2011, she suffered multiple strokes, and was moved to her daughter Dorothy’s home in Eugene. Subsequently she was moved to a nursing home, where she died in her sleep at the age of 93.
She is survived by daughters Geri Carter of Bakersfield, CA; Dorothy Sofge of Eugene; Sandra Grady of Vancouver; sons William Russell “Red” Frey of Vernonia; Floyde Frey of Scappoose; Steve Acock of Portland, and Donny Coghill of Tacoma; as well as 11 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.
Donations in her memory may be sent to Albertina Kerr, or The Gideons International.