May 11, 1919 – June 19, 2020
Bernice Isabelle Fairaizl Casey was born on May 11th 1919 in Mandan, North Dakota. Her father had immigrated from Bohemia and married her mother, who was originally from Kansas. She had three sisters and a brother. When she was very young, her father farmed potatoes. He eventually moved their family into town, where he had a job hauling coal. Growing up in the Great Depression, her family was very poor. Later in life, she wanted to provide opportunities for her family that she never had growing up. After High School, Bernice went to Chicago and attended a three-year nursing school. After graduating, she joined the Army Nursing Corps as an Officer towards the tail end of World War 2. She would become a career Army officer, serving in Korea, and Vietnam. She rose to the ranks of Lt. Colonel. Bernice met Weldon Casey when they were both stationed in Hawaii. He was an enlisted man and she was an officer, and fraternization was forbidden between the two. That did not stop either of them and they snuck off and got married on September 15th 1962. While the Army was quite annoyed with them, it chose to look the other way since they were already married. In her own words, the highlight of Bernice’s Army career was overseeing the V.I.P. ward at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. She took care of many foreign dignitaries, John Dullus, and even President Eisenhower. Years later, she showed letters John Dullus and President Eisenhower had written to her, thanking her for providing them with such excellent care. Bernice retired in early 1971 after serving in the Army for 22 years. In 1982 she and Weldon moved to Brandon, Florida to be closer to their family. As her grandchildren grew up, Bernice took care of nearly every summer. Those grandchildren still have fond memories swimming in her pool, going to the movies with her, and her teaching them various card games. Bernice Casey believed very strongly in education. She assisted all of her grandchildren and great nieces and nephews attend facilities of higher education. From assisting with living expenses to paying for classes, she supported them all in the pursuit of a college degree. She moved to Sun City in 2001 where she lived out her final years. Until two weeks before her death, she lived on her own. Bernice Fairizal Casey passed away peacefully in her sleep on June 19th, 2020 at 101 years old. She leaves behind her stepson, Harold Casey, her daughter-in-law, Linda Casey, two Grandsons, Shaun and Timothy Casey, two great grandchildren, Ellie and Henry Casey as well as four nephews and one niece: Dean and Stephen Fairaizl, Jay, Laurel and Scott Zimmerman, and three great nephews, two great nieces, and one great-grandnephew. The choices Bernice Casey made in her life will echo in our lives for decades to come, like ripples in a pond. She brightened our lives and we are all better for knowing her. She will be greatly missed.
Saturday, June 27, 2020