MILFORD – Bernice E. Strong, 85, of Milford, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon, May 23, 2017, at Bassett Hospital.
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, Mount 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 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.
Calling hours are 4-6 p.m. Monday, May 29, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown.
A funeral service will be offered at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, at the funeral home, with 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 suggests memorial donations be made to the Milford United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 127. Milford, NY 13807, or the 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.