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Bernice O. Fischer

November 3, 1923 March 2, 2019
Bernice O. Fischer
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Obituary for Bernice O. Fischer

Mrs. Bernice Fischer, age 95 of Hull, Iowa. passed away on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at the Pleasant Acres Care Center in Hull.

There will be a funeral service on Thursday, March 7, at 7:00pm, at the Oolman Funeral Home in Hull. The Rev. Harlan De Jong will officiate. Interment will be at the Eureka Cemetery in Eureka, South Dakota, at a later date. Visitation with the family will be on Thursday, from 5:30pm to 7:00pm, at the funeral home.

Bernice Fischer was born to Albert and Martha (Neuharth) Meidinger on November 3, 1923, on a farm homesteaded by her grandfather, ten miles from Eureka. She was the oldest of what would be eight children. She came of age during the heart of the Dirty Thirties and remembered them quite clearly. She went to school through the eighth grade. Either she, or her sister, Elaine, who was thirteen months younger, could go to high school, but not both. They decided that neither one would go. She learned the ins and outs of farming and the importance of being creative and resourceful.

She worked at the Eureka Community Hospital for a couple of years and then, at age 22, she married Eugene Fischer. Eugene was also born on a farm ten miles from Eureka, but not the same farm, and was the second oldest of eight children. For two years, they worked with Bernice’s parents and eventually took over their farm. The couple had three children; David, who now lives on the family farm; Judy, an author, musician, and retired teacher, living in Des Moines, Iowa; and Deb, a Human Resources Director at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, living on the outskirts of Hull. She belonged to the Eureka Reformed Church, where she was a charter member of the Ladies Aid, sang in the choir, played the piano, and taught Sunday school classes.

For years, Bernice and Eugene handled the work themselves on a 2000-plus acre farm. She could operate a tractor and milk cows as well as anyone. She became an ace silage hauler, after doing that work for decades. She was a member of the Farmerette Extension Club and enjoyed sharing company, conversation, and ideas with eleven neighbor farm women, who also belonged to the club. In addition to her work on the farm, she also served as a hostess and waitress for three different restaurants in Eureka. She sometimes joked that she walked her legs off during that time, and as she got older, they didn’t like walking so much anymore. They farmed together for 50-plus years and moved to Hull in 2001, a new start for them. Once there, they quickly blended into the church community and made friends with whom they could share dinners, travel to events, and play cards. They were foster grandparents in the Boyden-Hull Community School District for years and enjoyed running into students in public, who enthusiastically greeted Grandma and Grandpa.

Bernice was a generous, resourceful woman with a witty sense of humor. She loved to dance, and she and Eugene were smooth, graceful dancers, who took advantage of every opportunity to dance in Eureka and the surrounding towns, especially to see Lawrence Welk and dance to his music when the Champagne Music Group appeared anywhere in the area. Over the years, many admired the ease and grace of their movements on the dance floor.

Bernice demonstrated that same smooth movement in other areas of her life. She had a talent for homemaking. Her holiday meals were always memorable, because she would add something unusual and beautifully presented to the traditional fare. She loved planning and executing special dinner affairs and trying new and unusual dishes. The real trick was to get her to stay seated for the entire meal. She kept her home clean, too clean her children might say. Her children could tell you stories, that would make your eyes pop, about the semi-annual cleaning frenzies they endured.

Bernice had a special talent for decorating with simple items. One year, when a multi-day blizzard prevented them from going to town for a Christmas tree and gifts, she crafted a tree from a huge tumbleweed that Eugene retrieved from along a fence line. Popcorn strings punctuated with beads, colored marshmallows, and raisins, strung together with thread, comprised the garland. She put the children to work crafting ornaments made of used Christmas cards, aluminum foil, glue, baking sprinkles, popsicle sticks, and anything else she could think of. For presents, she encouraged her family to put promissory notes with acts of service or kindness for another family member placed in decorated envelopes. This was a special Christmas indeed!

Sewing was a special passion for her. She could look at a department store dress, pants, or suit and create an exact replica from patterns she made herself. She loved sewing small delicate Barbie clothes for her children, grandchildren, and nieces, a good way to use small scraps of material — nothing wasted. She could sew with leather and thick denim; no material or project was too challenging for her. She also made countless quilts, many all by herself.

She spent summers in her garden and insured there was plenty to eat by canning the vegetables she grew, lugs of fruit from the local grocery store, and meat from chickens that the whole family took part in butchering. She loved wild, natural plants and made countless arrangements with wheat, oats, flax, barley, wild roses, wormwood, cattails, and a host of other things she found outdoors.

She enjoyed indulging her grandchildren. When Lana, the oldest, was just three, she would make her way through the shelter belt to Grandma’s house, where they would swing together. Grandma taught her the song, “Over the river and through the woods, To Grandmother’s house we go….” For grandson Matthew, whom she called the Inspector, because he snooped through every closet, drawer and cupboard to see what was there, she put together a special box of broken clocks, radios, and other small items. She hid the box in the dining room buffet, so that he could find a treasure. For Katie, little tender heart bear, she always had a special treat and a hug for the times when her feelings were hurt. For Cortney, the General, she had endless time to listen to her detailed reports about what everyone was doing or should be doing. For Collin, her little tag-a-long, who used to follow her everywhere, often hanging on to her leg, as she dragged him along, she had almost endless tolerance and penchant for finding important indoor jobs for him to do, when he would rather have been outside with his parents.

Lana and Matthew both remember this testament to her ability to keep a cool head. One day, the riding lawnmower plugged while she was mowing. When she stopped the blade to reach under and clear the clog, something malfunctioned, and the blade kept moving. It chopped off the end of her right index finger. Her horrified grandchildren looked on wide-eyed at the bleeding stump. She calmly set them to work looking for the missing finger part while she tended to the injury.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Martha Meidinger; her husband, Eugene Fischer; her brother, Mark Meidinger; three sisters, Elaine Serr, Florence Henningson, and Marie Job; nine brothers-in-law, Reuben Fischer, Larry Albrecht, Art Serr, Gene Henningson, Jack Job, and Harry Fischer, and Sylvan Lokken, Art Kautz, and Ken Velure; three sisters-in-law, Hilda Fischer, Erma Lokken, and Ramona VeLure; five nephews Mike Fischer, Darold Lokken, Keith Bundrock, and Tom Fischer, and Rod Fischer, and a son-in-law, Wayne Olson.

Survivors include her three children David Fischer, Judy Olson, and Debra (Sidney) Sandbulte; two sisters, Barbara (Jon) Jund and JoAnn (Jack) Weber; a brother, Wayne (Diane) Meidinger; six grandchildren, Lana Fischer, Paul Olson, Matthew Olson, Katie (Jack) Sandbulte-Spear, Cortney (Luke) Roskamp, and Collin (McKenna) Fischer; and two great-grandchildren, Sydney and Sloan Spear.

Memorials may be directed to the Foster Grandparents/Senior Companions Program in Rock Valley, Iowa, or the Eureka Reformed Church.


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Previous Events

Family Visitation

Thursday

7

Mar

5:30 PM 3/7/2019 5:30:00 PM - 7:00 PM 3/7/2019 7:00:00 PM
Oolman Funeral Home - Hull

319 Black Forest Road
Hull, IA 51239

Oolman Funeral Home - Hull
319 Black Forest Road Hull 51239 IA
United States

Funeral Service

Thursday

7

Mar

7:00 PM 3/7/2019 7:00:00 PM
Oolman Funeral Home - Hull

319 Black Forest Road
Hull, IA 51239

Oolman Funeral Home - Hull
319 Black Forest Road Hull 51239 IA
United States

Memorial Contribution

Eureka Reformed Church

310 F Avenue
Eureka, SD 57437

Foster Grandparents / Senior Companions Program

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