S. Bernice Houk

S. Bernice Houk, 100, of Tucson, AZ, formerly of Ellwood City, passed peacefully into God’s hands on Saturday, November 21, 2015 from Cherry’s Assisted Living Home in Tucson.

She was born over a century ago in Jackson Center, PA, on October 11, 1915 to the late Clare S. and Mary Blanche Hillman Turner. Bernice had recently celebrated her 100th birthday with a large gathering of friends and relatives in Tucson.

Bernice was a graduate of Farrell (PA) High School, and later Westminster College where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in music. She also did graduate work at both the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Youngstown State University.

After graduation, she came to Ellwood City to teach, first at Ellport School, then Portersville, and later at various schools in the Ellwood City Area School District. She taught music in the schools of Pennsylvania for 30 years, traveling to numerous elementary schools, teaching both vocal and instrumental classes and directing operettas. In addition to her career in public education, she taught private piano lessons to many area residents.

Bernice also was a devoted servant to her beloved Bell Memorial Presbyterian Church. She was the choir director for 38 years, leading numerous holiday cantatas. She also served as an Elder, and was a member of the King’s Daughters Sunday School Class. She belonged to the Leona Lash Guild, and led the children’s Sunday School music program.

She was involved in her community as a member of College Club, the local Business and Professional Women’s Club, Wimodausis, and AARP. Additionally, she was a member of the local and state Retired Teacher’s Association, and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a professional honorary society of women educators into which she was initiated in December 1965.

Bernice travelled extensively, and maintained a winter residence in Tucson for three decades. She was a talented gardener, and enjoyed reading, music, spending time with her family and meeting new people. She was known for her positive attitude and photogenic smile.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Clayton L. Houk, whom she married June 29, 1940 and who died July 18, 1976. The last of her immediate family, she was preceded in death by her brother, Paul Turner in 1987 and by her sister, Evelyn McCulloch in 2008.

She is survived by three daughters and sons-in-law: Beth Ann (and Marvin) Smith of Spokane, WA; Kathy (and Gary) LeLoup of Plymouth, MN; and Trudy (and John) Kingsolver of Tucson, AZ. Four grandchildren survive: Brian LeLoup, Chad LeLoup, Kristin LeLoup Howe, and Sara Beth Kingsolver Fineran, as well as five great-grandchildren, four nephews, and one niece.

Friends will be received from 2-4 and 6-8 P.M. on Friday, December 11, 2015, at the TURNER FUNERAL HOME of Ellwood City, Sixth Street at Park Avenue.

Friends may also call from 10 A.M. until the time of a celebration of life service at 11 A.M. on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at Bell Memorial Presbyterian Church, 610 Line Avenue, Ellwood City, with Rev. Glenn Hink officiating.

Burial will be in Slippery Rock Cemetery, Wayne Township.

Memorial donations may be made to Bell Memorial Presbyterian Church.

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