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Bernice J. Hamlin Lee
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Birth: Apr. 12, 1919
Hyde County
South Dakota, USA
Death: Jan. 6, 2013
Walworth County
South Dakota, USA

The Funeral Service for Bernice J. Lee, age 93 of Mobridge, formerly of Faith, will be held at 10:00am MT, Friday, January 11, 2013 at Bethel Lutheran Church in Faith with Pastor Wayne Olson, officiating. Burial will be at 2:30pm MT on Friday afternoon at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

Visitation will be held from 3:00 to 5:00pm MT on Thursday afternoon at the Faith Area Memorial Chapel in Faith. A Family Service will be held at 7:00pm MT on Thursday evening at Bethel Lutheran Church.

Serving as casketbearers are Klevre Lee, Brett Landwehr, Troy and Jessica Wanless, Heather and Chad Collins. Her great grandchildren, Hadley, Jack, and Leah Collins, Elliana, Scarlett and Juliette Wanless, and all of Bernice's friends and relatives are considered Honorary Bearers.

A Memorial has been established.

Bernice Hamlin was born and raised on a farm one and a half miles west and a half-mile south of Holabird, South Dakota, in Hyde County, on April 12, 1919. Her parents were William B. and Annie Jane (Gadd) Hamlin. Bernice attended grade school and two years of high school in Holabird and two years of high school in Highmore, SD where she graduated in 1937. Following her high school graduation Bernice attended Northern Normal and Industrial School in Aberdeen, SD for one year to earn her certificate to teach in rural schools. She taught the next three years at the North Illinois country school in northern Hyde County. The children and their families were very nice and they treated Bernice like a family member. Planning and having programs, especially the Christmas program, was a very special time for everyone.

In 1941, Bernice decided to go back to Northern State Teachers College to earn an Elementary School Certificate (completing a two year course) so that she could teach in city schools. In 1942, when Bernice received her certificate, there was a job opening for a first and second grade teacher in a town called Faith in western South Dakota. She applied and was hired to teach for the Independent District of the City of Faith. Bernice's brother, Wallace, took her to Faith. She once said that when she arrived she was not sure she wanted her brother to leave, as there were rough, tough cowboys everywhere who were very intimidating to an East River farm girl. None of the teachers had a car so they all walked everywhere.

During the 1942-43 and 1943-44 school years Bernice taught school in Faith. It was during this time that she met Hall Lee, a young man who worked at the Farmer's Store. In 1940 Hall had been drafted and served in the Cavalry until 1941 when he received an honorable medical discharge and returned to Faith. Hall soon became a friend to all of the young female teachers and he had a car! At the end of the 1944 school year, Bernice took a job teaching first grade at Lincoln City School in Aberdeen, South Dakota where she taught in the 1944-45 school year. During their time apart Bernice and Hall continued their courtship and on September 21, 1945 they were married at Bernice's home in Holabird, SD. Following a short honeymoon trip to Huron, Bernice and Hall returned to Faith.

Bernice and Hall's first child, Jerome Alan, was born in Rapid City on November 4, 1947. Their daughter, Joanne Marie, was born in Rapid City on January 15, 1950.

In January of 1959 Bernice returned to the classroom after she was asked by the Maurine School Board to finish out the school year since their teacher had left at Christmas time. Bernice accepted a job teaching third grade in the fall of 1959 in the Faith City School. She continued taking college courses by extension and summer school from Black Hills State College whenever she could. Eventually in 1970, she earned her B.A. degree in Education. Bernice taught school for a total of twenty nine and a half years before retiring in 1981. After retirement she continued her teaching career by substituting for several years.

Bernice was active in the Faith community and was a charter member of the "Mother's Club" and the American Legion Auxiliary, Bethel Lutheran Church and Women's Missionary Fellowship. Bernice and Hall continued to support the youth of Faith during their retirement years. They rarely missed a school athletic event or a program. Her husband Hall passed away on June 1, 1993 of pancreatic cancer.

Bernice lived in Faith in the home that she and Hall rented in 1945 and later purchased in 1947. She kept busy tending her flowers in the summer months and continued to support the children of Faith, as she did for the past 64 years, with her attendance at school activities.

In June of 2010, Bernice, moved to Mobridge, SD where she resided at the Prairie Sunset Village. She passed away on Sunday, January 6, 2013 at the Mobridge Regional Hospital at the age of 93 years, 8 months, and 24 days.

Surviving family members include her daughter and son-in-law, Joanne and Terry Wanless, Sacramento, CA; son and daughter-in-law, Jerome and Lanniko Lee, Java, SD; 3 grandchildren, Heather (Chad) Collins, Lexington, KY; Troy (Jessica) Wanless, Plymouth, MN; Klevre Lee, Java, SD; 6 great grandchildren, Hadley, Jack, and Leah Collins, Elliana, Scarlett, and Juliette Wanless; 2 sisters, Annie Tresca, Palmetto, FL; Jean Rork (Dick Bell) Desert Palm Springs, CA; 2 sisters-in-law, Elzora Hamlin, Sioux Falls, SD; Gladys Hamlin, Gettysburg, SD; and special friends, Dave and Sonja Gebhardt, Faith, SD; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, brothers, Wallace, Gordon, Howard, and Floyd, and 3 in infancy. 
Family links: 
  Hall Lee (1907 - 1993)
Black Hills National Cemetery
Meade County
South Dakota, USA
Plot: F,2634
Created by: Teddy
Record added: Jan 07, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103211889
Bernice J. <i>Hamlin</i> Lee
Added by: Teddy
Bernice J. <i>Hamlin</i> Lee
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Fan of the Site
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- Teddy
 Added: Jan. 9, 2013

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