Bernice Benham, 93

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bernice Benham, 93, a long-time resident of Bruneau,died Dec. 6, 2004, in Vancouver, Wash.

A memorial Graveside service will be held today, Dec. 15, at the Bruneau Cemetery at 11 a.m. with Pastor Steve Landis, Bruneau Community Church, officiating. A potluck dinner will follow at the Bruneau American Legion Hall. Arrangements are under the direction of Rost Funeral Home of Mountain Home.

Bernice was born Dec. 29, 1910, to Charles and Martha (Robertson) Hewitt of Bruneau. She attended school at the Hot Springs Grade School in Bruneau and graduated as valedictorian from Bruneau High School in 1929.

She received her teaching certificate from Lewiston Normal School and her first teaching assignment began in a one-room schoolhouse in Little Valley near Bruneau. Bernice taught school for four years before getting married.

She married her high school classmate, Dick Benham, on May 18, 1935. They farmed in Beowawe, Nev., for a few years. After the death of Dick's father, John, they moved back to Bruneau to manage the family farm.

Bernice loved helping her sister Vera Bower, and Bruneau stalwart David Jones, with the Bruneau Grade School Christmas plays, especially with the costumes and choreography, her family noted.

Bernice was also a Brownie Scout leader.

"She loved dancing and music," her family said. "She loved her animals and you might find lambs, piglets, chickens or whatever other animal that might need extra help in the house warming by the wood stove. She was a perfect farm wife and came from a long line of tireless workers who were the descendants of Bruneau pioneers, the Robertson Family.

"She loved her life and said many times if she had it to do over again, she wouldn‚t change one thing," her family said. "She and Dick were 'best friends' and traveled the world together."

Bernice eventually lost her vision to macular degeneration but passed on a legacy to her family of "seeing" the best in people and nature with her heart, her family said.

Bernice left her beloved Bruneau in 1989 to move to Mountain Home and she lived there until 1998 when she moved to the Northwest to be closer to family.

Suvivors include: her two daughters, Elaine and her husband, Gary Hutchison, of Venice, Fla., and Mary and her husband, Steve Mengel, of Vancouver, Wash; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Dick, in 1987, and her older sister, Vera Bower, in 1999.

Memorials may be sent to the Bruneau Library, Bruneau Community Church, Bruneau Quick Response, Bruneau American Legion, local animal shelter, or to ar favorite charity. Flowers may be sent to Rost Funeral Home, 240 N. 4th East St., Mountain Home, 83647.