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 Bernice <I>Fisher</I> Riiho

Bernice Fisher Riiho

Nashua, Chickasaw County, Iowa, USA
Death 1989 (aged 85–86)
Coos Bay, Coos County, Oregon, USA
Burial Coos Bay, Coos County, Oregon, USA
Memorial ID 103786319 · View Source
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B: August 28, 1903, Nashua, Chickasaw County, Iowa
D: June 1, 1989, Coos Bay, Coos County, Oregon

Bernice Mary Fisher was born August 28, 1903, in Nashua, Iowa, the 4th child and 2nd daughter of Lester Round and Gertrude Ellen (Hall) Fisher.

Bernice was married four times. On April 15, 1922, at the age of 18, Bernice married Charles Henry Porschke. A Nashua Reporter article of April 27, 1922, carried the story: “The Geneseo Illinois Republican contains the following news item which will be of interest to our readers: Charles Porschke, son of Gust Porschke was united in marriage to Miss Bernice Fisher of Nashua, Iowa, Saturday, April 15.” The article goes on to say they will reside on a farm in Phenix Township [Henry County, Illinois]. It also says that Charles Porschke had been employed last winter by the Crystal Ice and Fuel Company in Nashua. “He is well spoken of by those who knew him.” Interestingly, Charles was first cousin to John Cagley (husband of Verna, Bernice’s sister). It seems as if Charles and Bernice met in Nashua, possibly even at a family gathering and at some point moved to Rock Island, Illinois. In January of both 1923 and 1926 and August of 1928 the Nashua Reporter noted that Bernice returned home to visit her parents and then returned to Rock Island, Illinois.

At the time of the 1930 US census Bernice was married to Claude Jay Crouse. The census notes she was married at age 24, which would have been 1927. It is also noted that at the time of this census report they are living in Rock Island, Illinois, just a few houses down from Bernice’s older brother Roy Fisher and his family. In 1929 and 1930 the Nashua Reporter states that “Mrs. C. J. Crouse” returned to visit her parents, L.R. and Gertrude Fisher.

An article in the Nashua Reporter notes that on December 24, 1930 Mr. and Mrs. Jay Crouse along with the Roy Fisher family visited the L.R. Fisher home. It may be that Bernice and Jay Crouse moved back to the Nashua area for a time because it is noted in the Reporter on February 6, 1935 that Mrs. Jay Crouse is visiting friends in Rock Island, Illinois, and a June 17, 1936 article states that the C. J. Crouse family had visitors from Illinois. In August of 1936 Bernice went with her mother, sister Wava, and Louis, Lyle, and Selma Cagley to Davenport, Iowa, to visit the Roy Fisher family for a few days. A December 29, 1937 article notes “Mr. and Mrs. L.R. Fisher and family enjoyed a baked salmon dinner at their home Christmas, the salmon having been sent by their daughter, Margery, from Marshfield, Oregon.” Mrs. Bernice Crouse is noted to be at that dinner. However, Jay Crouse is not mentioned.

Sometime between 1938 and 1940 Bernice moved to Oregon where her sister Marge was already living and married Clive Vernon “Hap” Vineyard. The 1940 US census and Marshfield, Oregon City Directory show Bernice and Hap Vineyard living in Eastside, Oregon. According to the Marshfield City Directory Bernice is a waitress at the Goodfellows Café. Bernice worked in restaurants and was a great cook with an easygoing personality. Hap was a longshoreman.

Maxine (Fisher) Haberkorn has many memories of her Aunt Bernice.
“My first memories of Aunt Bernice revolve around gifts. About Christmastime a big box would arrive addressed to Bud (Maxine’s brother) and me from Aunt Bernice. We had seen her at Aunt Vernie’s only a short time, usually on Sundays, when she came to visit. She would usually come by herself. Back to the box… in it would be stocking hats, mittens or gloves, candy, a purse for me, games, books, and all kinds of trinkets that we loved. Another box would come sometime before the 4th of July with lots of fireworks in it and, of course, clothes. As I got older she would send me letters and once in a while call me. She was a fancy dresser whether in a dress or pants.

When I was 16 Aunt Marge and Aunt Bernice were back visiting Nashua and Selma and I went back to Oregon with them in Aunt Bernice’s car. Selma lived in Oregon. My mom and dad (Victor and Berma Fisher) were afraid I wouldn’t come back! It was fun! Marge was the co-pilot but it was Aunt Bernice’s car. There was a lot of sisterly bickering between the two all along the drive about where to stop for gas and meals and where to stop for a motel. You should have seen the way they would check out the motel room. Sometimes we would look at 3 or 4 motel rooms before one would pass their inspection! They could be hard to please! Hap was waiting for us when we got there. He was a nice man. At the time Aunt Bernice worked as a waitress in a drugstore. She worked at the fountain at that drugstore for many years. They served a light lunch such as a hamburger and a dessert. These were planned and cooked by Aunt Bernice. I enjoyed my visit there for 6 weeks. I got to see Aunt Marge, too. Aunt Bernice put me on a train in Spokane, Washington that would take me home to Iowa with strict instructions about what I could do and who I could talk to.”

Hap died in March 1959 and sometime after that Bernice married Carl Riiho in Coos Bay, Oregon. According to Selma’s recollection, Carl was very quiet and kept to himself.

Bernice had a green thumb. She had a wonderful garden and grew beautiful flowers. She also had a chicken coop in her yard. She hosted the family holiday parties at her house. All of the Oregon families went to her home and it was great fun. All the kids liked to go to her house. She told great stories to Dennis Chenoweth’s children, Erin and Scott, about Dennis getting in trouble and having to use the switch on him (a wooden stick to spank kids). Erin and Scott got a kick out of these stories about their father. Bernice loved children and they loved her; however, she never had any children of her own.

Donna (Chenoweth) Thatcher notes: “Aunt Bernice used to take care of Dennis and me, and we lived with her when our mom (Ellen Cagley Sands) had to be in the tuberculosis hospital. I stayed two days a week with Aunt Bernice until I graduated from high school, and my three boys loved her like a grandma. Bernice was a waitress who would wear a white uniform, union button, and an apron when she worked at the fountain and Massey Café. I learned a lot about professional pride and people skills from her.”

Bernice had her ears pierced later in life. She always wore big jewelry – brooches and necklaces. Later in life Bernice started wearing pants but before that she only wore dresses with an apron over the dress. Bernice loved to watch wrestling on TV with her bourbon “hot toddy for the body” she would say.

In the fall of 1988 Ken and Maxine (Fisher) Haberkorn flew to Portland, Oregon to visit Bernice who was quite ill at this time. They asked if there was something special they could get for her. She wanted “roast beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy” from a particular restaurant which they got for her. That was the last time Maxine saw her Aunt Bernice.

Bernice was a heavy smoker and would only smoke Tarryton cigarettes. On June 1, 1989, in Coos Bay, Oregon at the age of 85, Bernice Mary (Fisher) Riiho died of lung cancer. She is buried in Sunset Memorial Park, Coos Bay, Oregon.




  • Created by: Sue Chenoweth
  • Added: 19 Jan 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 103786319
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bernice Fisher Riiho (28 Aug 1903–1989), Find A Grave Memorial no. 103786319, citing Sunset Memorial Park, Coos Bay, Coos County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Sue Chenoweth (contributor 47482858) .