Bernice Tracy Champlin Gere, 84, of 3 Albany St., Oxford passed away peacefully Saturday morning, the final day of 2016 surrounded by her family at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.
"B" is survived by all four of her children, Colleen (Cliff) Ackley of Mesa, AZ, Craig (Maryann) Champlin of Oxford, James (Maryann) Champlin of Oxford, and Annette (Jeff) Lawrence of Arroyo Grande, CA. Bernice is also survived by 9 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren and many, many cousins, nieces, nephews and countless friends.
Bernice was born to Bernard Tracy and Jessie Livermore on July 15, 1932, spending her youth and raising her family in Oxford with Myron Champlin until their divorce in 1968. In 1975 she married long-time Oxford resident, Elmer "Barney" Gere and relocated to Kerrville, TX. She came full circle when she and Barney returned to Oxford in 2005 and he predeceased her in 2008.
Bernice was a resilient and thoughtful woman who was a fixture at her beloved St. Paul's Episcopal Church and her favorite restaurant, Hoppies, in Oxford. A prodigious letter writer with an Elizabethian cursive handwriting, her letters, birthday cards, condolences and well wishes flowed from her pen on a daily basis. She baked like there was enough flour to feed the world, sending "care" packages before they were called care packages.
Her sense of humor was self-deprecating with a hint of childish mischievousness. Halloween being her favorite holiday, she used the yearly occasion to create costumes that ranged from Willie Nelson, to a Kangaroo, to a giant tea bag! She was proudly a charter member of the local Stitch and (rhymes with itch) club with local luminaries Sally Finch, Katherine Paden, her sister Grace O'Connor and others.
Bernice's final words were, "I've had a wonderful life!"
Friends may call at the Behe Funeral Home, 21 Main St., Oxford on Friday, January 6, 2017 from 3-5 PM and on Saturday from 10-noon at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Main St., Oxford with a memorial service at noon at the Church, with Rev. David Hansel man officiating. Burial will be in Riverview Cemetery, Oxford. Memorial contributions may be to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Main St., Oxford, NY. Friends and family may share their memories and condolences by visiting www.behefuneralhome.com