Bernice Helen Marie Prellwitz, 86, passed away on Friday, March 22, 2013, at The Clairemont Palliative Care Unit in Eau Claire following a lengthy battle with complications of congestive heart failure.
Bernice was born in Menasha, Wisconsin on July 11, 1926 to Theodore and Elsie (Meyers) Heidke. She grew up on the family farm in nearby New London, Wisconsin. She graduated at the top of her high school class. Following graduation she worked as a private secretary in Neenah to the president and general manager of the Hewitt Machine Company which fulfilled contracts for the Army and Navy during World War II. In September, 1946 she married Clarence Prellwitz of Manawa, Wisconsin where they worked the family farm for 44 years along with their three children. Bernice was an active long-time member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Manawa where she was a Sunday School teacher for 26 years, sang in the choir for ten years, was active in the Ladies Aid for many, many years, also participated with Vacation Bible School, plus many Bible studies. In addition to church activities, Bernice was a general 4-H leader for 15 years. It wasn’t uncommon to have several young gals over to the farmhouse learning how to sew or do cooking and baking. Also through the 4-H programs she had the unique pleasure of working with the kids and their dog projects while also training her own boxer pets of Brandy and Benjie. They became great at “sit” and “stay!” Bernice was a very hard worker and was so proud that her three girls were able to attend college and graduate. She was also a great organizer. In 1990 Bernice and Clarence retired from regular farming, but continued to live in the homestead while still gardening and doing lawn care. Bernice underwent bypass surgery in 2000 due to complications of congestive heart failure and several heart attacks, fairing pretty well until 2009 when additional illnesses created the need to move to Eau Claire closer to family and medical attention.
Bernice will be greatly missed by her husband, Clarence, and three daughters – Ellen, Eau Claire; Marcia, Eau Claire, and Beverly (David) Szprejda, Pembine, Wisconsin, and two grandchildren, Jessie and Zachary, currently students at UW-Stevens Point. She is preceded in death by her parents, Ted and Elsie and siblings, Leora, Charlie, Gloria, Roland and Carol, as well as several nieces and nephews.
Celebration of life will take place at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Manawa, Wisconsin with Pastor Wally Waite and Pastor Vilas Mazemke as officiates on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm with visitation at the church on Friday morning from 11:00 am until the time of service. Private family interment will be at the Little Wolf Cemetery Friday afternoon. In lieu of flowers memorials for Bernice would be welcomed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 742 Depot St, Manawa, WI 54949, or the Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Eau Claire, P O Box 4105, Eau Claire WI 54702. The family would like to thank the staff of the Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Eau Claire, for their professional expertise over the past 12 years in regard to Bernice’s health concerns and most recently to the staff of The Clairemont for their kind care near the end of her life. Also special thanks to the Lake Care Ministries team and many other Lake Street UMC members through their extended ministries.
Bernice will be fondly remembered for her many cooking and baking talents. She always whipped up some delicious goodies to share at church or for the neighbors – especially her sticky buns and lemon poppy seed cake! Fuller Speckien Hulke is assisting the family with arrangements. To express condolences online, please visit www.fullerspeckienhulke.com