Bernice Friend, 91, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Medicine Lodge.
Bernice was born on April 20, 1924 in rural Leigh to David S. and Anna (Friesen) Klassen. She was the oldest of four children.
Bernice started her teaching career at the age of 18 where she taught in a one-room schoolhouse. She attended Tabor College in Hillsboro and later at Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Neb. In the early 1950s, she was called to the mission field and went to Japan and taught missionary children for four years.
When she returned home from Japan she met Don Friend. After a two-week courtship, she married Don on Sept. 21, 1957. They were an instant family with Don having four children: Kathy, James, Max and Danny. Later, they had two children: Dean and Ann. They were married for 58 years prior to her passing.
Bernice continued her education and graduated from Friends University in 1965.
The family moved to Medicine Lodge in 1976 where Bernice continued her teaching career. She retired in 1980 due to health reasons. Later that year, they moved to Bentley and then to Newton where they lived until December of 2015 and returned to Medicine Lodge.
She is survived by her husband Don Friend; daughter Ann and Kelly McNett; brother-in-law Ken Shultz; and many nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents David and Anna Klassen; brothers Leonard and Elmer; sisters-in-law Rosalie and Lea; sister Doris Shultz; sons: James, Max, Dan and Dean; daughter Kathy; and one grandchild Philip Fagan.
Funeral arrangements are scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, at Grace Community Chapel. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton. The family will be present from 6 to 7 p.m. to greet friends.
A memorial has been set up for International Christian Enterprise, 596 Monterey Dr., Keller, TX 76248.