COLUMBIA — Like her father, Bernice M. Johnston was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan her entire life.
"Her father was a huge Cardinals fan," said Johnston's nephew, Howard Kincaid. "They would never miss to turn on the radio."
Bernice Johnston died Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. She was 99.
Ms. Johnston was born Dec. 20, 1914, in De Soto. But, Ms. Johnston spent most of her life in Herculaneum, where she lived from a young age until 1988. She moved to Columbia in 1988 to be closer to Kincaid.
"My aunt was a family-oriented person," Kincaid said.
Kincaid shared his childhood home in Herculaneum with three generations of his family, including Ms. Johnston, his mother and his grandparents.
"It was an extremely enriching experience because I had a perspective from my mother and my aunt, and also from my grandparents, people who were way older,"Kincaid said.
Ms. Johnston graduated from Herculaneum High School in 1932. After she completed a secretarial training program, she began a 45-year career as the secretary for Herculaneum High School.
Ms. Johnston was secretary at the school while Herculaneum Mayor Bill Haggard attended school there.
"Everyone at the high school knew her then," Haggard said. "She was very involved with the school."
He also worked with her between 1978 and 1981 when he was on the school board of Herculaneum High School.
Ms. Johnston was made a member of Herculaneum High School’s Hall of Fame in 2012 for her many years of devoted service to the school.
"If she wasn’t at the school, she was at the church or at the library," Haggard said, recalling the time she served as a secretary and a volunteer librarian.
Ms. Johnston also served as a pianist at the First Baptist Church of Herculaneum-Pevely when she was living in Herculaneum.
"I was honored to play with her every service," the church’s harp player Charlotte O’Dell said. "She was very talented. She was a mentor to me."
She moved to the Candlelight Lodge in 2011 and found a warm community among the staff and other residents.
"She loved her room, the staff there and her friends," Kincaid said.
Ms. Johnston enjoyed crossword puzzles, music and reading. Reading was an especially important part of Ms. Johnston's daily life, Kincaid said. She read the Columbia Daily Tribune daily, along with books from the Columbia Public Library's outreach program.
"(Reading) was her best moment," Kincaid said, and added she had great eyesight until her passing.
Ms. Johnston is survived by two nephews, Howard Kincaid and his wife, Gina, of Columbia, Mike Johnston and his wife, Becky, of Sheridan, Wyo.;three great-nephews; and five great-great nephews and nieces.
A visitation will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W, with a service following at 4 p.m.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway.
Online condolences may be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.