Bernice F. Yuly, 97, Minot, died Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in a Minot hospital.
Bernice was born Dec. 20, 1914, to Albert and Pearl (Mohr) Leathes, in Carpio, in Ward County. She graduated from Carpio High School in 1932.
Bernice was united in marriage to Herbert L. Yuly on July 8, 1933, in Minot. The unique ceremony took place before a grandstand filled with people at the North Dakota State Fair. Their attendants were Mildred Harris Chaplin, wife of comedian Charlie Chaplin, and football great Red Grange.
The couple moved to Bismarck, where Herb was employed as a guard at the North Dakota State Penitentiary, and together, they began raising a family.
In the late 1930s the family moved to Minot, where Herb became employed by the Ward County Highway Department and Bernice helped with farming chores at the Yuly farm near Ruthville.
Bernice and Herb were members of the First Congregational Church in Minot. She was president of the Washington School PTA, a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Elks Lodge, Royal Neighbors of America and a charter member of the GEM Credit Union, all of Minot.
Bernice was musically talented and began playing the piano as a child. She remained active in this profession for the duration of her lifetime. She played for many organizations and with Lawrence Welk and friends in Bismarck, later forming her own band, "Bunny and her Orchestra." She loved playing the piano and it brought much joy to her family, friends and many communities.
In 1952, she was first runner up for Mrs. North Dakota, an honor that made her husband and six children proud. She formed a South Hill group of people to contribute and build an outdoor ice skating rink. She became operator of the rink and warming house in conjunction with the recreation department, keeping the potbellied stove fired up daily and supervising the facility seven days a week, becoming a favorite of Minot's children.
Bernice sewed the hanging pull drapes for the former Empire Theater on Minot's Main Street, as well as sewing and repairing costumes for the traveling ice follies show, whenever they performed in Minot.
Bernice served on the Election Board for Ward County and was a matron for the Ward County Sheriff's Department during the time her husband was a chief deputy under Sheriff Olaf Haaland, also helping to prepare meals for inmates and assisting Herb with the transporting of inmates.
She was active in the gatherings and conventions for the North Dakota Crime Prevention Bureau along with Herb who passed away at the Ward County Courthouse on May 12, 1969, while serving as the Ward County Juvenile Commissioner.
She worked for Sears Roebuck in Minot and after Herb's passing, became a counselor for the handicapped with the Minot Vocational Workshop. In addition to her duties at the workshop, she opened Dakota Book Binding, operating the business until her move to Arizona in 1980.
Bernice and her best friend, Clarence Nelson, of Minot, were together for 36 years at Monte Vista Village Resort in Mesa, Ariz., until moving to Trumann, Ark., to live near her daughter in 2006.
Clarence passed away on April 9, 2008, in Trumann. Bernice returned to Minot, where she became a resident of the Trinity Retirement Home.
This past year, with failing health, she resided at her daughter Linda's home in Minot. Over the years, she served family and friends many good meals of homemade bread, lefse, tamales and baked goods.
The Yuly home was a gathering place for many young Minot airmen stationed at the Minot Air Force Base, who became welcome friends to all of the Yuly children. Bernice always entertained them with her piano tunes.
She will be remembered as a loving, giving, caring mother and grandmother and a cheerful, happy, and inspiriting friend to all.
Her busy piano, card playing and crocheting fingers are resting on Earth but Heaven's Angels are now filled with her joyous music.
Bernice is survived by: a daughter, Linda (Clinton) Wolf, and a son, Curtis (Sharon) Yuly, both of Minot,; companion daughter, Mary Nelson Herther, Chicago, Ill.; 18 grandchildren, Donald Sebo, California, Terry (Carol) Sebo, Minot, Chuck Sebo, California, Cynde Sebo Jones, California, Jody (Rick) Benson Dregseth, North Dakota, Steven (Tammi) Benson, California, Mavis Yuly Anderson, Washington, Farin (Julie) Yuly, Iowa, Diane (David) Yuly Watts, Georgia, Stephanie Stout Long, Arkansas, Jeffrey (Sherry) Stout, Arkansas, Damon (Dody) Gleason, Utah, Dana Gleason, Texas, Kathryn Gleason Pouncey, Louisiana, Karla (Gerard) Gleason Mack, Louisiana, Cindy Johnson Starkey, Washington, Natalie (Jim) Wolf Boe, North Dakota, and Mark (Gardi) Wolf, California; companion grandchildren, Kristen Herther, Illinois, Tracy (Bill Walters) Herther, Georgia; 33 great-grandchildren; three great-great grandchildren; sons-in-law, Jerry Stout, Trumann, Ark., Art Christianson, Crosby; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Bernice was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Herbert L. Yuly; son, Allan H. Yuly, Minot; and daughters, Delores Sebo Benson Christianson, Crosby, Kay Gleason Johnson, Kirkland, Wash., and Carol Stout, Trumann, Ark.; grandson, Kerry M. Wolf; brother, Perry A. Leathes and also an infant brother; sisters-in-law, Grace Leathes, Ruth Yuly, Ione Rooks Sanders, Thelma Crites Rienke, Portia Yuly; brothers-in-law, Russell Yuly, Walter Yuly, Carl Reinke, Bruce Rooks and Donovan Saunders; daughter-in-law, Bev Yuly; sons-in-law, Eugene Benson, C.J. Johnson, and David Gleason; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Ethel M. and Herbert J. Yuly; and stepfather, Nels Thorson.
Graveside service: 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at Sunset Memorial Gardens, Minot.
Visitation: Thursday, Oct. 25, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.
Memorials: Are preferred to the Minot Vocational Workshop, now called Kalix.
Those wanting to sign the online memorial register or share memories and condolences are invited to use the expressions of sympathy section at (www.thomasfamilyfuneralhome.com).