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Obituary of Bernice Irene Kephart
Bernice Irene Kephart, 87, passed away surrounded by family on May 23, 2023 in St. Paul, MN. Bernice was born December 19, 1935 in Snyder Township, PA to Dolores Kroah and Harold Huntington. The only deaf child of four, Bernice never considered this to be a disability, but rather an opportunity to express herself using American Sign Language (ASL). In fact, many would say that you did not have to know ASL at all to understand exactly what was on her mind. Bernice had a lifelong adoration of cats, which adorned her home from the she used for her daily jumbo crossword puzzles to the calendar on her wall, along with every birthday, anniversary, and church event meticulously scribbled in ink. While often the star of the show at family gatherings, most times you would find her in her trademark fashion sunglasses, quietly observing in the background, or secretly checking the volume on the tv to make sure it was off. Always with the sweetest smile on her face. When she wasn’t rearranging the entire house on her own, Bernice enjoyed day trips to the casino, perusing the mall with her daughters, and spending time at her church. At any given time, she would pull a stack of photos from her purse, organized in some order only she understood. She would share these cherished memories of new babies, weddings, and friends of over 60 years with anyone who would listen. After spending the majority of her life in Rock Island, Illinois, Bernice relocated to Saint Paul, MN in 2011 to live with her daughter, Kathy. This move brought Summer days at the lakes, a new church family who welcomed her with open arms, and a love of tator tot hotdish, which she fondly referred to as “potato rows”. When she wasn’t visiting, Bernice maintained contact with her Quad City family and friends using text messaging for chats and sharing photos. She always started the message by introducing herself and ended with an “I love you” and “God bless you.” Bernice truly meant theses sentiments and she will be deeply missed by all those fortunate enough to have known and loved her. Bernice is preceded in death by her parents, Delores Kroah and Harold Huntington, her brother Bill Huntington, and her sister Marie DePeape. She is survived by her sister Jean Ehrmann, son Robert (Leah) Kephart, daughter Carol Torrence, daughter Kathy (Charles) Minarsich, 12 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and a lifetime of dear friends. A private celebration of life in Quad Cities will follow.