By Carolyn Johnson
Bernice Nicklas was born Bernice Pearl Hooks on Dec. 23, 1917, just a few months before the end of WWI. She is the 12th child in her family of six boys and six girls. When she was born, she was already an aunt twice. She went to school in a one-room school house and while she was learning her lessons, she also learned those of her older sisters, and was often able to do their work as well, or better than, they could, including reciting the poem “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Bernice graduated from Kittaning high school in 1936 and went on to Butler Beauty School. She had a lot of suitors in high school and beyond, but was choosy. Having witnessed how hard her parents and some of her siblings worked and what a struggle it could be with children, she waited for Mr. Right.
Bernice and Brownie Nicklas were married October 4, 1942, and she was a faithful wife and hard worker, saving her money so they could buy a home when WWII was over. Bernice has loved being a homemaker, gardener, fabulous cook, homeroom mom, fashionista and seamstress, often redesigning her own clothes and those of her daughter throughout the years. She moved to Dallas in 2015 to be close to her daughter, Carolyn, and son-in-law Tim, and has enjoyed living independently, but nearby. She misses her friends in Butler but is glad to be in Dallas for assistance when she needs it. Bernice attends church with her family and shares dinner with them most Sundays, and she enjoys meeting new friends. She recently participated in a fashion show at her new residence in the Lake Highlands/White Rock area. Bernice raises African Violets and Christmas cactus and loves to shop. She also enjoyed a birthday open house this past Wednesday.