Bernice Johnston Obituary
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In Memory of

Bernice Frances (Bruckman) Johnston

January 23, 1946 - November 9, 2013
Obituary

Bernice Frances (Bruckman) Johnston, aged 67, passed away surrounded by the love of friends and family on November 9, 2013. Bernie was born in Grand Rapids in 1946, the third child of William and Nita Bruckman. Bernie graduated from Marywood Academy in 1964, then enrolled at Michigan State University, where she studied journalism. It was at MSU where she met the love of her life, Everett "Rhett" Johnston. After graduating from MSU, Bernie became one of the first women ever hired as an intern at the Kalamazoo Gazette and then Saginaw News. She married Rhett in 1969 at St. Alphonsus Parish in Grand Rapids, the same church where she was...
Bernice Frances (Bruckman) Johnston, aged 67, passed away surrounded by the love of friends and family on November 9, 2013. Bernie was born in Grand Rapids in 1946, the third child of William and Nita Bruckman. Bernie graduated from Marywood Academy in 1964, then enrolled at Michigan State University, where she studied journalism. It was at MSU where she met the love of her life, Everett "Rhett" Johnston. After graduating from MSU, Bernie became one of the first women ever hired as an intern at the Kalamazoo Gazette and then Saginaw News. She married Rhett in 1969 at St. Alphonsus Parish in Grand Rapids, the same church where she was baptized and received the sacraments. When Rhett landed a job as chief of staff to State Sen. Jerry Hart (D-Saginaw) they moved to Lansing, where they started a family. Bernie spent several rewarding years raising their three children before returning to work as the director of events and publications at the Michigan Petroleum Association (MPA). Bernie and Rhett shared their Catholic faith, their love of MSU and many epic camping adventures with their children. Rhett and Bernie also were the traditional hosts of Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations for the Johnston and Bruckman families. Bernie was a talented writer, traveling the state to tell the stories of small business owners who were members of MPA. After Rhett was diagnosed with brain cancer, she cared for him with the help of family and friends until his death in 2003. It was during Rhett's illness and his stay at Mother Teresa House in Lansing that Bernie discovered a passion for caring for those needing care near the end of their lives. She became a regular volunteer at Mother Teresa House until she moved back to Grand Rapids in 2006 to be closer to her mother and other family members. Upon her return, Bernie embraced life with new vigor, caring for her grandchildren and mother, while volunteering at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and working at J. Milito & Associates. Bernie is survived by her children, Amy (Chris) Knape, Kevin (Anna) Johnston and Katherine (Paul) Hegele; beloved grandchildren Benjamin, William and Timothy Knape; Kyle Johnston; and Caroline and Owen Hegele and their unborn brother (due Thanksgiving); siblings Donald (Cathy) Bruckman, Janet Barnes and William (Debbie) Bruckman; sister and brother-in-law Diane (Stuart) Leslie and Richard (Chris) Johnston; and many cherished nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, her father and mother, mother-in-law Elizabeth Johnston, father-in-law Wesley Johnston, her brother-in-law Thomas Barnes, and sister-in-law Angela Johnston. The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11am on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at St. Alphonsus Parish with Rev. Lamar Partin, C.Ss.R. as celebrant. Please join the family for visitation at Reyers North Valley Chapel on Monday, November 11, 2013 from 4-8pm with the Rosary at 7pm. One hour additional visitation will be held at church before Mass on Tuesday. For those who wish, please consider memorial contributions in memory of Bernie to St. Alphonus Capital Campaign, All Saints Academy or The Co-Redemptorists Association with envelopes available at the funeral home.

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"We are so sorry for your loss. Your mom was always so warm and friendly. May special memories comfort you during this difficult time. Love, Sue and Mike Keil"

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More Obituaries

Grand Rapids Press on Mlive.com
JOHNSTON (BRUCKMAN) BERNICE FRANCES Bernice Frances (Bruckman) Johnston, aged 67, passed away surrounded by the love of friends and family on...

Read obituary at Grand Rapids Press on Mlive.com.

Lansing State Journal
Bernice Frances (Bruckman) Johnston Bernice Frances (Bruckman) Johnston, aged 67, passed away surrounded by the love of friends and family on...

Read obituary at Lansing State Journal.

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