Berniece Bitterling, 91, was surrounded by her loving family when she passed away at her home on February 22, 2020 .
On Oct. 29, 1928, Berniece Rookstool was born northwest of Rochester in Richland Township. She was the treasured daughter of Clayton and Celia Bradway Rookstool. Growing up she shared her childhood with two brothers Kenny and Carl. Berniece graduated from Richland Center High School in 1946.
With a strong work ethic, Berniece blended her days with a great love for her family, raising her six wonderful children and being dedicated with a passion for farming. A great role model she taught them methods to live off the land. Each spring she planted a truck patch garden. About the same time she could be seen atop her Minneapolis Moline G-1000 turning the soil preparing it to plant the crops. The Bitterling farm was home of a variety of livestock including a fine herd of sheep that Berniece adored. There was Gertrude the cow, a Jersey who supplied them fresh milk.
For decades, Berniece served the Mike Horn Family as house manager and caregiver. She was a member of the Mt. Hope Church and volunteered for the Historical Society for many years being recognized once as the volunteer of the year. She also enjoyed reading to elementary students.
To relax Berniece enjoyed taking golf cart rides and walking with Coco her tan and black canine custom blend, her partner in crime. Grandma Berniece was the glue of the family and remained vibrant her entire life. SO very proud of her legacy and overseeing four generations, at age 90 she could be seen with family kayaking down the Tippecanoe River or across Lake Manitou. She especially found joy in sitting around the bonfire or cooking out and telling stories reminiscing about the earlier years.
Left to cherish Berniece’s memory are six children: Virginia Banning and husband Richard of Plano, Ill.; Joy Braun and husband Tony of Rochester; Jill Wallace and husband Walt of Warsaw; Michael Bitterling, Jeff Bitterling, Greg Bitterling and wife Suzie all of Rochester; seven grandchildren: Clay Bitterling and wife Sheena, Garrett Bitterling and fiancee McKayla Casu, Patrick Banning and wife Amber, Brenda Banning, Beth Wallace, Morgan Bitterling and Kaitlyn Stamberger and husband Tim; seven great-grandchildren Emmett, Evelyn, Solomon, MacKenzie, Cody, Kage and Kennedy and her treasured canine companion Coco.
Preceeding Berniece are her parents Clayton and Celia Rookstool, two grandchildren Billy Banning, Kathy Wallace, 2 brothers Kenneth Rookstool and Carl Rookstool.
A life celebration for Berniece Bitterling, with a time to share stories and visit with her family will be held at the Fulton County Historical Society Museum 37-E 375-N Rochester, IN 46975, on Monday, March 2, 2020, from 2:30-6 p.m. Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to the Fulton County Historical Society or Kindred Hospice 1476-W 18th Street, Rochester, IN 46975.