Bernice M. Gilbert

Born January 18th, 1916 - Passed Away February 3rd, 2008

Aunt Bernice passed away on Sunday February 3rd, at her home in McMinnville. As the obituary states, she was 92.

Her and Uncle Les were married in 1954. When they met, she was working at The Rotary Bakery in the Hollywood District, where Uncle Les was a baker.

Bernice has been married and was divorced with two teenage sons, Bill and Bob Meyer. Uncle Les was also divorced from his first wife, Enid. (Enid’s maiden name was Applegate, as in the Oregon pioneer family) Enid and Les had adopted Cousin Keith, who at the time was also a teenager. Keith was still living with his mother, but Bernice now had a stepson and Les had gained two stepsons.

Early in their marriage, Bernice went to work at Pacific NW Bell. When Les would pick up Bernice from work, they’d usually have to give a sister Jeanne a ride home, too, since Lewy was somewhat of an unreliable resource for doing the same thing two days in a row.

Throughout their 40 years of marriage, Uncle Les and aunt Bernice became very active in the local Wurlitzer Organ group, also a Dixieland Jazz group. Bernice played the organ and Uncle Les taught himself to play the piano by ear. I remember their set-up in their small living room at their home on NE Wygant. She’d be on one side of the room and Les playing the piano on the other side. And yes, I do remember it sounding mostly like Lawrence Welk music, without the accordion.

For many years, Bernice also raised and sold fuschia’s out of their backyard for on Wygant. Along with her love of flowers, she was also loved to cook. Along the way she gained a reputation for doing a wonderful job grooming poodles. I remember a few of their poodle dogs, Gee Gee, Coquette and Jeannette with some additional numbers 1, 2 or 3. You can get the full details in Uncle Les’s book, The Pink Poodle (not available at bookstores nationwide). Needless to say, pets were a large part of Aunt Bernice’s life.


After Uncle Les retired in 1972, he and Bernice would head to Camp Sherman on the Metolious River most summers. At the Cold Springs Creek RV park where they stayed at allowed pets, so that work for everyone.

After Uncle Les passed away in 1994, Bernice stayed in their home until 2002, when she moved to the Mennonite Retirement Community in McMinnville. Upon moving a few years later, she donated her beloved Wurlitzer Organ to the retirement home. She was in a nursing home at the time of her passing.

Remembrances to Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America. Arrangements by Macy & Son of McMinnville, Oregon