BERNICE RITA “GOLDIE” GOLDSTEIN, 90, passed peacefully from this world at 11 AM on October 18, 2021 at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, MS.
Bernice was born in Boston, MA, and attended and graduated from Westchester High School, NY. She is the daughter of the late Harry and Mollie Goldstein (nee Markowsky) and her stepfather Joe Blacker.
Joe and Mollie lived in Coney Island, NY during their younger years. Soldier, bandleader, singer, musician, artist; Bernice was a true Renaissance woman in every sense of the word. She was an accomplished musician, having mastered several instruments. In her younger days, she sang in the church choir. She also showed considerable talent as an abstract painter. In an interview for the Women's Army Corps Band documentary, MSG Goldstein said she always wanted to be in a band, but could not get into one because it was all male.
One day she was reading a brochure that had the Women's Army Corps Band in it. She was up all night and could not sleep. The next morning, she went down to the recruiter station and said she wanted to join the Army. She auditioned for the band when she was in basic training at Ft. Lee, VA. The happiest day of her life was being assigned to the WAC band. She had heard them play in basic and thought she'd never get into that band, feeling that they were too good. At 21 years of age, Bernice achieved her dream. The WAC BAND Enlisted Bandleader and the principal conductor of the WAC Band reunions, Master Sergeant Bernice Rita Goldstein, joined the Army in 1952, stationed at Ft. Lee, VA and she retired in 1974 at Ft. McClellan, AL, home of the WAC. She became the last of the 14th WAC ARMY BAND members to serve her entire career in the WAC Band. Better known to most as Goldie, over the years she branched out from her original French horn to every instrument she could put her hands on.
She is survived by three brothers, Allan Blacker of Ocean Springs, MS, Mark Silverstein of Louisville, KY, and Paul Blacker of Wapingers Falls, NY; her niece, Betsy Prussian from Louisville, KY; her nephew, Walter Blacker of Ocean Springs, MS; and her nieces, Pauline Grigsby, of Ocean Springs, MS, and Sandra Drap and Linda DeLuise both of Wapingers Falls, NY.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Armed Forces Retirement Home Gulfport Residents' Fund, 1800 Beach Drive, Gulfport, MS 39507.
The service will be held at Riemann Family Funeral Home, 274 Beauvoir Road, Biloxi, Friday, December 3, 2021. Visitation begins at 10 AM at the funeral home. The service begins at 11 AM, and interment will be at 12:30 PM at the VA cemetery in Biloxi, MS.
An online obituary may be viewed and memories shared at www.riemannfamily.com
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