Bernice Colleen Burns was born in Kiowa, near Hammon, Oklahoma on October 22, 1925, the third child of Henry and Mabel Hawkins. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on November 30, 2017.
Bernice grew up on a farm in the 30’s, when times were hard, and everyone had to pitch in. She graduated from Cheyenne High School in 1943. It was in high school where she met Leland Burns who would become her husband shortly after graduating. Bernice would say “My life began when I met Leland.” The night of their marriage, Leland and Bernice left for Norfolk, Virginia where he had received orders from the United States Navy. She stayed with him in Norfolk for ten months where she delivered their first child, Mickey, two weeks after he deployed. Bernice then returned home to make a life in Cheyenne. Eleven months later, Bernice traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to visit Leland while he was docked state-side and returned to Cheyenne, pregnant with their second child. Leland completed his service and returned home on December 14, 1945, just hours after their daughter, Judy, was born.
Their life together as a family began on that day. Soon, Leland and Bernice bought a small farm northwest of Cheyenne and love filled the small house they called home. A few years later, another son, Jim was born, and their family was complete. In 1957, Leland and Bernice moved to town and in 1959 bought the home in which they have resided ever since.
Bernice was employed at the county extension office where she worked for over twenty years. Retirement did not mean a life of rest and relaxation for Leland and Bernice. They purchased the bowling alley in Sayre and ran it until 1980. From 1980 on, Leland and Bernice could be found daily on a golf course, somewhere. If asked, Bernice likely would have said, she loved Jesus, Leland, her family, and golf. In that order! She was a talented athlete and fierce competitor.
Bernice won numerous bowling and golf tournaments and golf club championships. She loved to play games and do puzzles and regularly hosted friends for bridge. Bernice loved to travel, insisting that Leland always accompany her and since he could never tell her no, he always went. They enjoyed trips to Hawaii, Mexico, Washington D.C., New York, Alaska, and Nova Scotia to name a few. Without question though, her favorite place to go was to their home in Angel Fire, New Mexico. Beginning in 1983, Leland and Bernice spent every summer playing golf in the cool mountain air. From June to September, they would play daily. In 2013 Leland and Bernice celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in Angel Fire with a family golf tournament. Bernice loved the Lord. She joined the church in 1938 where she later served as a Sunday School teacher, youth sponsor, choir member, bell ringer, and prayer warrior her whole life. One of her greatest joys was writing her Sunday School lesson each week. She once said her favorite books were the Bible and the Wiersbe Commentaries. She had unshakable faith and believed God always has a plan and would always see her through.
Leland and Bernice enjoyed every minute of their 73 years together. She was a shining example of what a wife, mother and grandmother should be. Her family considers themselves blessed beyond measure to have had her for 92 years. Bernice is preceded in death by her loving husband, Leland; her parents, Henry and Mabel Hawkins; her father and mother-in-law, “Red” and Pearl Burns; her brother, James Hawkins; her sister, Beatrice Williams; her brother-in-law, Bob Burns; her son-in-law, Sam Wood; her niece, Lisa Heinen; and a grandson, Chad Burns.
She is survived by her devoted children, Mickey and Janet Burns of Minco, Judy Wood of Kingfisher, Jim and Mary Burns of Cheyenne; her seven grandchildren and their spouses, Rene and David Dacus of Minco, OK, Jay and Libby Wood of Kingfisher, OK, Ryan and Lori Burns of Kingfisher, OK, Bo and Holly Blakey of Stillwater, OK, Jamie and Bret Henry of Oklahoma City, OK, Erin and Jerrod Frederking of Cheyenne, OK and Cade Burns of Cheyenne; her sister-inlaw, Elverta Burns of Oklahoma City, nephew, Brice and Lauren Heinen of Oklahoma City and sixteen great grandchildren.
Services will be held December 6, 2017 at 11:00 AM at Cheyenne First Baptist Church officiated by Dr. Dennis Hooper and Bro. Terrell Romberg. Burial will be at Cheyenne Cemetery under the direction of Rose Chapel Funeral Service. Condolences can be made online at www.whineryfs.com