Bernice Daves Patchell quietly and peacefully slipped into paradise on Friday, January 4, 2013, five days before her 105th birthday. She was the daughter of William Luster Daves and Frances Edna Chapman Daves, born on January 9th, 1908 in Quitman, AR. She was one of ten children.
Bernice was preceded in death by her parents and husband, Cecil Hicks Patchell, her son, George Gilbert Patchell and his wife, Patricia Cummins Patchell, her son, Jack Daves Patchell and his wife, Betty Rose Stair Patchell. Her grandson, George Stanley Patchell, also preceded her in death. All of her siblings preceded her in death; sisters, Ruth Ann Daves, Florence Daves Copeland, Christine Daves Gentry, and brothers, George Hamilton Daves, James Oscar Daves, Joe Franklin Daves, Horace “Harry” Daves, Henry Edward Daves, and Ralph C. Daves.
She is survived by her granddaughters, Jacque and husband, Tom Martin of Quitman, AR and Debra Patchell of Lebanon, NJ, and her grandsons, Don Patchell and wife, Mary, of Deerfield, IL, and Mark Patchell, six great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. She is also survived by her nieces, Martha Stephenson and husband, Lee, of Searcy, AR, Frances Edna Gentry of Tulsa, OK, Mary Ann Rutledge and husband, David, of Ardmore, OK, Sylvia Daves Grieb of Pacific Palisades, CA, and Edwadee Henson , of Conway, AR. and; nephew, Joe Paul Daves and wife, Carol, of Searcy, AR. Great nieces and nephews and many other relatives also survive her.
Bernice and her husband, Cecil, loved to design and build houses. They built three homes in Heber Springs. The first house they built together was featured in a Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce brochure advertising the Greers Ferry Lake area as the number one place to retire.
Bernice always stated that she wasn’t very book smart, but that she “made a good wife for Cecil.” She helped to support her family during the Great Depression by churning butter and selling eggs and butter to the general store. She made her sons baby clothes and shirts out of flour sacks that she had washed and saved. Bernice could stretch a dollar and stored her house money in a coffee can in her refrigerator so that if a family member was in need, she shared what she had.
She supported Cecil in all his endeavors during their marriage, as he was County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, State Representative, and co-founder of Heber Springs Wholesale Grocery. He was also the co-founder of the Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce. Bernice kept the home fires burning for her family and reared two sons, who went on to college with George majoring in education and athletics at Arkansas Teachers, and Jack majoring in industrial engineering at the University of Arkansas.
Bernice prized family above everything and she and Cecil were always there with a helping hand when needed. They took family members into their home for long periods of time and in some cases helped them to get back on their feet. Her sister, Christine, lived with them during the years of WWII until her sweetheart came back from the war and they married. She helped her brother, Joe, with his two small children when his wife was taken by cancer and later when Joe became disabled with arthritis. Loving and being a blessing to her family was her hallmark.
Bernice loved to sew, crochet and quilt. Many family members have enjoyed her hand quilted quilts and crocheted booties to keep ones feet warm during the winter over the years. She also loved to play cards and always got a foursome together to play Canasta. In recent years, she gook up Word Search puzzles to keep her mind sharp. She took interest in world and national events and read the newspaper religiously until her eyesight began to fail.
Bernice lived through many world and national events. It was like listening to a talking history book when she would begin to tell “her stories”. She had two brothers who fought in WWI, George and Oscar, two brothers skipped world wars, and two brothers who fought in WWII, Ed and Ralph. Ed fought under General Patton at the Battle of the Bulge.
She reminisced about the time she caught the Spanish flu, which was brought over from Europe by the soldiers after WWI. “That was the sickest I ever was. Then the whole family caught it and I had to help care for them while I was recovering. I was only 10 years old at the time.” She spoke of having to do laundry in a big black cauldron over an open fire in the back of her parents’ home. In between laundry loads, she would play the piano. “The neighbors would say that it must be laundry day at the Daves’ because Bernice is playing the piano.”
Bernice loved to laugh and have fun. Her infectious laughter and personality drew many to befriend her. After Cecil died in 1969, Bernice moved to Midland, TX, where she lived for fifteen years, and then she moved to The Woodlands, TX and lived there for fifteen years. She made many new friends along the way and was happy to hook back up with old friends when she returned to Heber Springs at the age of 91. Her world had always been Cleburne County. Her granddaughter, Jacque, helped her to settle into Southridge Village Assisted living, where she lived for four years. Then she lived in Southridge Nursing & Rehab until her death. She is a long-standing member of The First United Methodist Church in Heber Springs.
The family would like to thank the staff at Southridge Nursing & Rehab for the wonderful care and love Bernice received over the past few years. Additionally, we would like to think Mrs. Peggy Logan for the love and friendship she gave Bernice, visiting her regularly. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 19th, 2013, 10:00am, at The First Methodist Church of Heber Springs, AR, where Bernice was a longstanding member, with Rev. Tom Bradshaw, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, and Rev. Tommy Toombs, conducting the services. In lieu of flowers the family requests that you donate to The Cleburne County Historical Society, 210 N Broadway, Heber Springs, AR 72543, in memory of Bernice. Funeral services are being handled by Olmstead Funeral Home.