Bernice Hunter Gifford passed away on Aug. 23. She was born Dec. 11, 1916.
She was born in Centerville, Mo., to Stella Miner Hunter and Ernest M. Hunter. She resided in Gideon, Mo., from 1938 to 2003.
She was a member of Fox Ridge Retirement Community in Bryant from 2003 until her death.
Bernice accepted Christ as her Savior when she was 9 years old and was active in her home church.
She was united in marriage in 1938 to John W. Gifford and they spent most of their married life in Gideon, Mo. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2008 prior to Mr. Gifford's death.
In 1940, the Giffords were instrumental in helping organize the First Baptist Church in Gideon. They were among the group of charter members. Bernice taught in Sunday School most of her years in Gideon, working with young people during the early years and finishing by teaching the oldest women's class. The Giffords moved to Bryant in 2003 and Bernice was a member of First Baptist Church in Benton when she died.
Bernice received her education at Southeast Missouri University, receiving a master's degree in education in her 50s. She taught various grades in elementary school in Missouri retiring in 1982. Her teaching career spanned 32 years. Her first teaching job was at age 17 in a one-room school in the Ozarks for a salary of $33 per month. Her duties in addition to classroom instruction for all eight grades included making the fire and sweeping the floors.
The Giffords were world travelers. They visited 55 countries and all the continents except Antarctica and journeyed to all 50 states. They enjoyed presenting travelogues of their travels to various schools and civic groups.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, John W. Gifford; and her sister, Norma Parker.
She is survived by her brother, the Rev. Edwin Hunter of Desloge, Mo.; her daughter, Norma Bridges of Benton; her sons, John H. Gifford of Palo Alto, Calif., and Dr. William Gifford of Burbank, Calif. She leaves behind four grandchildren, Susan Bridges of Stamford, Conn., Elizabeth Taulbee of Morrilton, Eric Gifford of Sacramento, Calif., William Gifford of Burbank, Calif.; and four great-granddaughters, Sevilla and Enola Gifford and Sara Taulbee.
Funeral service will be at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 29, at First Baptist Churchof Gideon, Mo.
Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, until time for the funeral service. The Revs. Robert Gifford Todd and Paul Ryan Taulbee are officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 211 S. Market St;, Benton, AR 72015. to benefit the music ministry.
Arrangements are by Bradshaw Funeral Home, 1005 S. Madison St., Malden, Mo.