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Bernice Koehler
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Obituary for Bernice Koehler

Bernice was born on June 24, 1928 in Wadena, Minnesota.  The name on her birth certificate is Maria Bernice Matti. Her parents were the late William and Laura (Arola) Matti. At her elementary school, several other girls were also named Maria. Since this caused confusion, Bernice said “I’ll take my middle name Bernice”.  So, she changed her name to Bernice Maria Matti.

At the age of 16, Bernice wanted to buy some lipstick.  Her dad said that lipstick was not in the family budget, so she decided to get a job at Eagles Café and rent a room in New York Mills and put herself through high school.  Bernice always wore lipstick and passed down this tradition to her daughter. 

In 1948, Bernice married Ray Koehler and moved to Minneapolis.  In 1949, their daughter Kathy was born. In 1955, Bernice & Ray bought their first house in Osseo.  They lived there until they retired to New York Mills in 1988. 

Bernice was very independent and worked hard her entire career. Since she was extremely creative and artistic, she spent most of her retirement years creating unique arts & crafts. Bernice could literally create something out of nothing!  She volunteered at the local Senior Arts & Crafts Center in New York Mills and belonged to a bowling league. One of her favorite singers was Vince Gill.  Bernice taught herself the art of painting Ukrainian eggs and loved it!  She said that of all the crafts she designed, she always went back to the beauty and complexity of Ukrainian eggs.

Bernice was always positive, wanted the best for everyone, had lots of energy, enjoyed helping others, loved making crafts and entertaining in her home.  She enjoyed fashion, dancing, traveling, going to church, and loved being with her family and daughter. 

On December 4, 2017 Bernice passed away peacefully at the Augustana Nursing Home in Hastings, Minnesota at 89 years of age.  She will be dearly missed by her family and friends.  Preceding her in death were her parents; husband, Raymond; 5 brothers: Lloyd “Duke, Howard, Roger, Gerald and Earl.

Bernice is survived by her daughter, Kathy (Michael) Houston of Cottage Grove; sister, Ethel Bernu of Brooklyn Center; brothers, Gordon Matti of New York Mills and John (Ethel) Matti of Oak Grove; many other relatives and a host of friends.


Previous Events

Service

Friday

8

Dec

2:00 PM
Apostolic Lutheran Church

315 Main Avenue South
New York Mills, MN 56567

Visitation will be held one hour prior to the funeral service at the church.

Cemetery Details

Location

Greenwood Cemetery

Boardman Avenue South
New York Mills, MN 56567

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