Bernice's Story

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MILFORD - Bernice E. Strong, 85, of Milford, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon, May 23, 2017, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.
She was born Oct. 19, 1931, on Crumhorn Mountain in the Town of Maryland, the daughter of Lewis and Lillian (Wright) Virtell.
As her father was a tenant farmer, Bernice and her family lived in various places throughout Otsego County while she was growing up. In later years, her family fondly recalls that whenever they were out driving around Laurens, Mt. Vision, Hartwick and Milford she would point to a house and say, "we lived there!"
On July 19, 1952, Bernice married Arthur C. Strong in Pennsylvania and they settled into their home in Milford.
From 1969 until 1993, Bernice worked for the Milford Central School District as a school bus driver, and was well-liked by the many children she drove to and from school each day. Her true calling in life, though, was tending to and caring for her family. A great cook she will be especially remembered for her pies. An avid birdwatcher, she enjoyed watching cardinals and bluebirds (but hated the Blue Jays!) and also enjoyed dancing, doing crossword puzzles, crocheting and knitting. She also bowled for many years. Truly the matriarch of her family, she will be greatly missed.
Bernice is survived by her beloved husband of almost 65 years, Arthur C. Strong of Milford; six children, Lewis Crawford of Rineyville, Kentucky, Evelyn Lacey and husband, William of Vine Grove, Kentucky, Robert Strong and wife, Laurie of Milford, Vickie Konchar of Maryland, Michael Strong and wife, Sandy of Milford and Carla Strong of Maryland; 19 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; four sisters-in-law, Elna Virtell of New Berlin, Elizabeth Virtell of Milford, Judy Virtell of New Jersey and Helen Southworth of Cooperstown; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her three brothers, Peter, Paul and James.
The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 pm., Monday, May 29, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown.
Funeral services will be at the funeral home at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, with the Rev. Sylvia Barrett, pastor of the Milford and Portlandville United Methodist Churches, officiating. Burial will follow in Westville Cemetery.
As an alternative to flowers, the family suggest memorial donations be made to the Milford United Methodist Church, P.O. 127, Milford, NY 13807, or Milford Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 359, Milford, NY 13807.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.
Published on May 29, 2017
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