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TAVARES, Fla. — Bernice A. Wilkinson passed from this world at 5:20 a.m. Dec. 26, 2019, at AdventHealth Waterman Hospital, Tavares, Fla.

Bernice was born Jan. 4, 1933, in Sidney. She was the daughter of Van and Ellen Rice. Bernice was the youngest of five. She had three sisters, Alta Mae Reed, Mildred Childress and Jean Swaim, and one brother, Harry Rice. 

Bernice grew up in Fithian and graduated from Oakwood High School. After high school, she attended and graduated from the Champaign School of Beauty. She owned her own business as a stylist for many years.

On Dec. 20, 1953, Bernice married a young man who was serving in the U.S. Navy, John E. Wilkinson. Together they had three daughters, Nancy (Tim) Cook, Chris Wilkinson and Sara (Alan) Wilborn. John was employed with the Champaign Police Department while Bernice continued as a business owner. Her beauty shop was inside their home, and that allowed her to be more available to their children. Bernice and John were married 43 years prior to his passing in 1997.

Bernice was preceded in death by her parents, siblings and husband.

She is survived by her daughters, four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Bernice was an excellent seamstress and enjoyed crafts. She loved being outdoors and had beautiful flowers. She enjoyed playing cards and shopping at flea and antique markets.

Bernice adored her neighbors. They were very friendly, and she had enjoyed biking, walking and visiting with them while she was able. Her family is grateful for their friendships. She will be missed by many.

The family will have private services at Mount Olive Cemetery, Mayview.