Bernice Stadem,

Pencil Sketch of a Photograph,

by Nephew Ronald Ginther

Beloved Grandmother, Mother, Wife, Homemaker, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Community Leader, Churchwoman, Good Sport, Bread Making Expert, Authority on Prayer, and Lifelong, Faithful Witness of Salvation and Spiritual Completeness only in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Bernice & Bread she baked at Farm Reunion

"Now, alas, we're doing good if we manage one pitiful loaf!"

Passing to Glory in her sleep, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2000, at the age of eighty-nine, Bernice Stadem-Schaefer, of Atascadero, California, finished her course on earth triumphantly. What better way could there be to convey her zest for life and varied interests than to quote portions of her letters? She and Russell were supportive of us working in Butterfly Productions and also the Plain View Farm websites.

"Dear Ron, you surely have the ability to throw us off our feet by the different things you come up with. What a great idea of a calendar and we did not have a large one either. Loved the choice of pictures you added too. The titles were so good also. At my age and the way I feel [she was now in her eighties--Editors], such things have come to a standstill. Our sewing club I headed up took in over $100 each year to send to missionary work. My helpers loved to do things but now one is dead and the other age ninety-eight is in a care center and so very, very thin.

Received the last two poems you sent and must admit you have a way with words that is far above mine. The eighteen is for the calendar and the rest for stamps. Thanks for remembering me.

Wish you could smell and see the bread from our bread maker. Russell's brother sent him $100 to get one, so we added to it, and got a big one

...Russ just came back from Palm Springs to see our dear friends as they have a summer home there and live in Chicago where Russ stays when they have a conference there. By the way, the reunion is to be in the July 4th weekend next time, as Leroy will not be able to be there in May. Hope you can make it and hope the weather will be GOODER.

Talked to Ruthie in N.D. some time ago, and she is fine. The other day it was EIGHTY below and wonder how folks can take that. Wow. Talked to Joe and Estelle also and her knees still hurt but said she is getting along fine. It is cold there too I see. Hope all the rain in Washington did no harm to you relatives there. We live on a hill so seeing our roof top only doesn't worry us only if we have an earthquake. It is sixty here most of the time. Twenty-eight or so at night. No problem.

Hope you can make this out, excuse all mistakes. "Kindness is one thing you cannot give away it always comes back." Thanks again for all you do. Love ya, Aunty Be, Uncle Russ"

Aunt Bernice (or "Be," as we called her, though she was the stingless variety bearing only sweetness!) loved to cultivate Stadem news and spread it the traditional Stadem "round robin" way to all her loved ones, along with buckets of her love, humor, and good spirits. If she hadn't written so much and bought so many stamps, she might have been rich, but we would have been much poorer without her countless, love-soaked letters:


"17 March 1982, Dear Family, as you can see it is not yet my big day but I will get a running start upon it. Birthday cards have been coming in every day this week, so up to now I have 17. It is great hearing from you, so with this letter from Mama [Mama Bergit Stadem lived to 1983, aged 98 when she passed to the Lord--Editors], Tom, and Ruth I'll throw in a few notes of interest.

Thank you Sherwood Saints" for the beautiful card and the nice thoughts added. Amongst these were the suggestions that while Tom worked on the Border Mama and Ruth may be able to come to the farm for the May 23-24 weekend. Hope it works out.

[Bernice was the prime mover behind the annual reunions for over twenty years--Editors]

I was really set back when one of my school mates, Sally Hanson, wrote and reminded me it is 50 years since we graduated from High School [Augustana Academy, Canton, S.D.--Editors] They are planning a reunion at Augustana College and we will be given a special honor. This is scheduled for July 31 but if we are to get together on the farm I cannot do both.

For those that remember her, Sally lost her first husband, and has a 31 year old bachelor son. She has remarried and lives in Canton, S.D. She was known as "Christmas" since she was so slow in coming around, but a very sweet girl.

Pearl, thanks for all the news and card. Lorin purchasing an old building and fixing it up for offices...Pearl baby-sitting for Wayne and wife when they drove to Sunnyside to pick up the stuff that fell off the truck!! Seeing her kids but not so often as she would like to, and that sorta stuff.

Oh, Gloria and her hubbie have been married all of twenty-five years? Don't seem possible. A card from Cannon Beach, this is 75 miles N.W. of Portland on the ocean.

An additional card was enclosed signed, "Two Monkeys in Portland."

We have "Generic" canned goods, plus Graham Crackers, but not a Generic Card like the one from Portland. Estelle, the long newsy letter sent earlier was much appreciated. You really did some reviewing of our trips when you lived in S. Calif. Those were some eventful years.

So glad the Norheims' meetings were good.

Their record of years ago is still one of my favorites.

It was great to hear that Mim and Dave are fine and busy.

When you think of Jannelle and Dave would anyone think of a serious note in their correspondence? Yes, we saw a flash in the sky and thought first it was a rocket but it turned out to be a stork with a sign around its neck with an address of 531 W. Vernon Av. Fergus Falls, Minn.

Thanks, Dave, for the interesting letter. Those wedding photos were just "super".

A cute card from Mobridge with lots of love tucked into it. A new water-softener? The letter was great with lots of news, try it again some time. They are much appreciated.

It took only seven days for mail to come from Carl and Cora. They too were on the ball to wish me a Happy Birthday.

Cora and Carl was so thankful for Mama's letters; they plan to file them away to enrich future memories. Cora's health problems have a few answers now...inspite of having arthritis and at times aching in every joint, Cora doesn't feel she can sit around while their hosts fix meals, etc.

Calvin and his family are coming to the states on or about May 18th. Today is THE DAY, March 18th, and eight more cards.

The amount is just too much for Russ. And another from Portland, Oregon, with a report on the retreat at Cannon Beach. Must have been great to have seen the Kennewick friends there. I don't know the author of this one, but it also came from Oregon...


Question 1: When was the last time you went barefoot outdoors, and tell about it.

BE: The last time that I can remember was when I came out of the house [at Plain View Farm] and my dad pointed to me some snow that was still behind the little outhouse.

2: What was your biggest flop in cooking, and what was your biggest success?

BE: The biggest flop was when I worked for folks in Canton and going to the Academy. I made a cake and put liniment in it instead of vanilla and my excuse was the bottles were both together and I had not checked very good.

My biggest hit was a corn pudding I got the recipe from my mom years ago.

3. Why haven't you gone on a trip to Norway?

BE: I have no desire to go to Norway, and besides it takes what they call money. I have no idea of more than one relative, and he is in Christian work, so I do not believe he is rich.

4. Name your favorite flower and your most hated weed.

BE: My favorite is the gladiolus, and the weed is the sunflower.

5. Why didn't you become a hockey pro?

BE: The reason is I had to go out to work to keep living.

6. Who are you like most--your dad or your mom?

Reply: I am more like my mother as my dad was very legalistic, when it came to spiritual things, and I try to be as sweet as she. Ho Ho.

7. You were born and raised on a farm, so why didn't you marry a farmer?

BE: I would not like to be a farmer's wife, and no one around Bryant had his eye on me.

8. What is your best color in clothes?

BE: The best color on me is tan, and the worst is orange.

9. If you won a cool million in the lottery, what would you do with it?

BE: I would buy a new home, a car, and give to poor people in need.

Want more of these tributes to Bernice? Family and Loved Ones and Friends are warmly invited to add to this Tribute Page to "Be," an Unforgettable Daughter of Zion! Remembering her great sense of humor, see her again in this hilarious PVF skit with Sister Estelle:

For Her Humorous 25th Wedding Anniversary Remarks Sent to the Gathering at that Time to be Read to Myrtle and Bill Svanoe:

"Twenty-Fifth Wedding Anniversary Remarks," by Bernice Schaefer

Now please link to the two Tribute Pages for Russell Schaefer, who passed away less than a year previously to his dear wife's heavenly homegoing. A memorial service for her beloved partner was given at Plain View Farm by his son and daughter-in-law.

Bernice was present, seated regally, like the true queen she was, attired in a beautiful dress, attending her last family reunion at Plain View Farm three months ago, July 4, 2000.

Farewell, thanks for the memories! We will see you soon coming with the Lord in clouds of glory, but in the meantime we treasure this view of her, looking so happy in her youth as she was contemplating something beautiful no doubt, brought to remembrance by her photo book or album (and note the butterfly knicknack shelf on the wall!):

"Would You Recognize a Queen?", A Tribute Poem by Nephew Ronald Ginther to Aunt Bernice Schaefer:

"Would You Recognize a Queen," Tribute in Verse to Aunt Bernice Shaefer, by Nephew Ronald Ginther

Links to other sites on the Web


Plain View Heritage Farm Home Page 1

Tribute to Russell Schaefer

Ron's Poetic Tribute to Russell Schaefer

A loving letter with spiritual counsel from Aunt Bernice and Uncle Russell to Nephew Luke Svanoe who was very ill with cancer and living his last days on earth:

Bernice and Russell Schaefer's Letter to Luke

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