Berniece Catherine (Peck) Henke was born on November 21, 1920 to Harold Alonzo Peck and Mary Ann (Zimmer) Peck. Born in Rock Township of Cherokee County, Iowa she was baptized into the Catholic Faith at the Maryhill Church.
During her childhood, Berniece attended several country schools, receiving most of her schooling at Webb. Her family moved several times as they faced the hardships of the Great Depression. She, an avid speller, won many school spelling bees which served her well in her hobbies later in life. Her family moved to Storm Lake area by her eighth grade year and upon its completion she started to work for farm families in the area as did her older brothers to assist with the financial needs of her family.
Berniece never lost her connection with the Maryhill area as her grandparents and several aunts and uncles still farmed and lived in the area. This ongoing connection led her back to work for and live with the George family near Maryhill. As a result a courtship was started between her and Joseph Henke.
On January 26th, 1943, she was united in marriage to Joseph Henke at St. Mary's Church in Storm Lake. They enjoyed barn dances, going on fishing trips and picnics with friends at the Iowa Great Lakes in their early years of marriage. Berniece settled into her life as a farm wife and mother living her strong commitment to her Catholic faith and her family. She and her husband Joe were dairy farmers and would move to his parents farm in 1956, where she continued to live until May 1st of this year. Berniece and Joe milked cows, raised chickens as well as ducks and geese, and worked the family farm until their retirement.
Berniece always had a big garden each summer and would can everything from ketchup to sauerkraut. Her children were always welcomed home from school to the daily aromas of her canning or baking and as always home cooked meals. With her cookie jar never empty, cheese curls in the cupboard and a full candy dish she was always ready for and anticipating her grandchildren's visits. In the winter when there was no garden to tend she spent many hours embroidering, caring for her grandchildren, playing cards and the game of Scrabble which she loved.
Berniece lived her life as a member of the Maryhill Church and when it was lost in 2006, she grieved the loss of her church and its community one mile from her home. Berniece endured the loss of her parents Harold and Mary Ann Peck, her siblings and their spouses, Joseph Peck, Louis and Marge Peck, Raymond and Betty Peck, Francis and Lois Peck, Cecilia Peck, Leonard and Maxine Peck, Ann and Gene Carrington, Grace and Bob Coombs, Lloyd and Betty Peck, James Letts, Rozella and Ed Charbonneau.
She lost her beloved husband, Joseph, in 1989, and endured the loss of his parents Joseph and Julia Henke, as well as his siblings, Lucille and Roman Tentinger, Harold and Rita Henke, Hilda and Floyd Reinert, and Margaret Ann and Bob George. She lost two son in-laws, Stephen Cosgrove and Ivan Bobolz, one grandchild Angie Henke, one great grandchild Cole Gries and one step-great grandchild Eathon Cosgrove.
Left to cherish and embrace her memory, one sister, Kathleen Letts and her brother Robert (Kathy) Peck. Her eight children, Ronnie and Pearl Henke, Robert and Carolyn Henke, Shirley Bobolz, Sharon and Tim Kenan, Connie and Don Wilson, Julie and Roger Ashbaugh, Janice and Dennis Wieland and Linda and Les Pedersen, all of the Cherokee area. She was blessed with 27 grandchildren, 6 step-grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren and 22 step great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. They are left to carry on her lessons of hard work and her examples of love and care of family. Her blessings will be missed by them all.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, November 20, 2017, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cherokee.
Father Dan Guenther
Visitation will be held from 11:00-4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon, with the family present from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
Organist- Charlotte Groves
Vocalists- I.C. Funeral Choir
Maryhill Visitation Cemetery
Rural Cherokee, Iowa