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Berniece Louise Garner of Biloxi, MS, passed away peacefully on December 22, 2022, with her daughter Teri by her side. She was 90.
Berniece was preceded in death by her parents Walter Grady and Alice Beatrice Rea, her brother Onie Ray, and her husband of 62 years, Wiley D. Garner. She is survived by her sister Lois (Virgil) Ashmore, her brothers Jimmy (Pat) Rea and Danny (Brenda) Rea, her three children Toni (Gene) Ganucheau, Teri Garner, and Robert (Tina) Garner, her six grandchildren, Joshua Cruso, Aarron (Brittany) Montiforte, Matthew Garner, Ryan (Jennifer Janae) Heath, Annie Garner and Grady Garner, as well as her four great grandchildren Madison Heath, Kip Heath, Lucca Montiforte, and Niccolo Montiforte.
Berniece was born on her family's farm in Hamilton, MS, on December 8th, 1932. Being born in the midst of the great depression didn't always allow for a mirthful childhood, nor did being the oldest of the eventual five children in her family. Her father, a master builder and rancher, would look to her to help with the family farm and assist her mother with rearing her siblings. While life was not easy, they found joy where they could, such as baking cookies and sweets for her siblings when her parents would go into town, one of the many familial traditions she carried throughout her lifetime. Farm life, which can be notoriously grueling, did have the advantage of developing her athleticism, which she put to use as an all-star center on the Hamilton High School basketball team, eventually being voted most athletic during her senior year.
Honing her maternal nature by helping raise her siblings had a lasting impact as she would soon start a family of her own. A testament to serendipity’s sense of humor, she met her husband Wiley while they were both on a double date with other people. Nearly a year after their nuptials she gave birth to the first of their three children, with the others following in quick succession over the next two years. With her family complete, she spent her time traveling with her husband's military deployments and caring for her children. Having an eye for aesthetics and artistry, she enjoyed collecting local art, signature hummels, and steins while living in Germany. She continued her foray into the fine arts after moving to Alaska where she studied painting and other artistry at Alaska Methodist University. Although some of the curios she collected were victims of the 1964 Alaskan earthquake, several of the works she made survived and made their way with the family to Biloxi, where she would spend the remainder of her life.
While she had varied interests in both sports and the arts, as well as working as a bookkeeper, the principal focus of her life has been on her family and living a devout life in service to the lord. A meticulous homemaker, she would make clothes for her daughters, including their wedding dresses, in addition to teaching them how to sew. She attended every baseball and football game that her son played in, save for one away game in Missouri. Continuing the tradition she started with her siblings, every Christmas her children and grandchildren were treated to an array of holiday cookies she baked, as well as a yearly ornament she picked out. Her lasting impact on her family, whether in the form of fond memories they carry or the traditions they carry on in her memory, is her true legacy. Her warmth and kindness was such that the comfort she afforded her family was almost tangible, as if her presence was a blanket you could wrap yourself in. It is only natural that her family will feel diminished at her passing, that a warmth that once enveloped them has slipped from their lives, but the sorrow they feel pales in comparison to the enduring influence her love for them will continue to bestow.
There will be a celebration of life for family and friends in Hamilton, MS at a later date in the summer of 2023.
Visitation will be on Thursday, December 29th, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. at RIEMANN FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, located at 274 Beauvoir Rd. in Biloxi, MS. The funeral service will be at 9 a.m. in the funeral home chapel. Private burial service for family will be held at the Biloxi National Cemetery.
Thursday, December 29, 2022
8:30 - 9:00am (Central time)
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Starts at 9:00am (Central time)
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