Bernice A. (Carlson) Branstiter
(January 13, 1924-June 15, 2018)
Bernice Carlson was born along with her twin sister Bertha on January 13, 1924 in Cogswell, North Dakota. She was the daughter of Martha (Dyste) and Arthur B. Carlson, a product of what is known as a mixed marriage in North Dakota, a Norwegian mother and a Swedish father. She was baptized into the Christian faith on March 2, 1924 in Trinity Lutheran Church, Havana, ND.
Bernice grew up in Oakes, ND, spending her summers swimming in the James River, playing baseball with the boys and spending time on the Dyste farm, west of Foreman, ND. She helped the women of the family prepare food for the farm laborers. Bernice spent her winters playing in the snow, skiing, and being pulled behind her brother Ben’s car on her skis. She loved sledding until the age of 90 when she went sledding for the last time with her granddaughter Ali and her great-grandson Davie.
Bernice graduated from Oakes High School in 1941. Shortly after starting classes at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, she joined the United States Navy. Trained as an Aviation Mechanic she was assigned to the Naval Air Station, North Island, CA.
She met Eugene “Gene” Branstiter on a blind date to a San Diego Padre baseball game, starting a romance (both with sports and each other) that would last a lifetime. Gene and Bernice were married on February 25, 1945 at Hollywood Lutheran Church in Hollywood, CA. They spent their early days of married life living in Coronado, CA until the time that Bernice became pregnant with their first child Martha and Bernice was discharged and returned to Oakes, ND.
After the war was over and Gene had been discharged, Bernice moved to Urbana where they purchased a home on East Lawn Avenue that would become their home for the rest of their married life. Bernice was active in the community, working with the Girl Scouts and other community groups. Bernice was a proud, lifelong Republican and worked the polls every election day.
Bernice loved sports; she taught her sons how to catch and swing a baseball bat. She became an avid golfer, beating her husband regularly, providing he didn’t cheat. She was an active member of the Urbana Country Club and will be buried with her favorite putter. Rarely did she miss an Urbana High School sporting event.
Bernice loved her church, Messiah Lutheran. She was one of the first female congregational presidents, a quilter and played in the Bell Choir. She could not carry a tune in a bucket so the family encouraged her not to sing in the choir, although that did not prevent her from singing loudly, especially “Silent Night” at Christmas time.
Bernice was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings Arthur Norman, Bob, Ben, Donny and her twin sister Bertha.
She is survived by a sister Hannah (Carlson) Nord of South Pasadena, CA and children Martha (Dave) Livingston, Allan (Barb) Branstiter, Raymond (Sandy) Branstiter and Roger Branstiter. Bernice had nine grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank the staff of Urbana Place for the love they showed Bernice during her stay there and especially during her final days. Instead of flowers the family is requesting memorials be sent to the building fund at Messiah Lutheran Church, 1013 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, OH 43078.
The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, 2018 in the WALTER & LEWIS FUNERAL HOME, Urbana. A service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 22, 2018 in the Messiah Lutheran Church. Burial will follow in Oak Dale Cemetery, Urbana.