June 17, 1923 – June 6, 2019
Bernice E. Kantrowitz died peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by family, on June 6, 2019, in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was 95 years old. Bernice was born June 17, 1923, in the small town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Her parents, Max and Elizabeth (Miller) Lipsic, raised her there while operating their clothing store. A city girl at heart, Bernice ventured out on her own after high school and a semester at the University of Pittsburgh, traveling by train on a solo journey to Washington, D.C.
She soon met and, in 1947, married the love of her life, Seymour Kantrowitz, in D.C., where he was stationed during WWII.
They raised 3 daughters in Rockville, MD, and spent their free time exploring the treasures of the nation’s capital together as a young family, from museums, parks and art galleries, to concerts, festivals and ballets.
She and Seymour enjoyed ballroom dancing together and were admired by family and friends for their graceful moves.
Bernice worked 30 years for the U.S. government -- first at the Old Executive Office Building in D.C. and later at Health, Education and Welfare in Rockville.
After retiring, Bernice and Seymour moved to Southern California to be closer to their children in Arizona and California. In California, she worked at the Jewish Community Center of Long Beach.
When she was in her 60s, Bernice fulfilled a lifelong dream, earning a bachelor's and master's degree at the University of California at Long Beach. Her family couldn’t have been prouder.
In 1989, Bernice and Seymour relocated to Sun Lakes, AZ.
For the next 25 years, writing was Bernice's passion. She wrote a story a week. Some of her stories were published in the Arizona Republic and the Sun Lakes Splash newspaper. Hundreds of her stories -- many autobiographical – were compiled into 10 volumes, titled The Joy of Words. The books are a priceless gift to her family, a legacy they will always cherish.
In Sun Lakes, Bernice delighted in her daily walks around the neighborhood, meeting friends to stroll with along the way. She enjoyed line dancing and educational classes. She happily volunteered as secretary, publicist and photographer for the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation and looked forward to attending Sabbath and holiday services. Bernice relished playing mahjong and pan with her friends and Rummikub with her family, who hailed her the Rummikub Queen.
Bernice was especially fond of her writing friends in the Sun Lakes Writers Group, where she held the coveted gavel as chair for many years. She was grateful for her fellow writers’ encouragement, support and laughter during their weekly meetings.
A proponent of healthy living, Bernice was an early practitioner of yoga, meditation, eating and walking for health, and studying for self-improvement.
She always aspired to fulfill her potential and become a better person. In her home, she displayed a sculpture of a man with his fist under his chin as if in deep thought, a replica of The Thinker by Auguste Rodin. Every time she passed The Thinker, she said, he reminded her to think more carefully, to ponder more deeply, to stay focused and to make better decisions.
Being creative brought Bernice much joy. While raising her children, she used her hands to knit, crochet, sew, create recipes, cook, and do fun arts and crafts activities with her children. Later, Bernice discovered a creative outlet through her words.
In 2017, Bernice moved into an assisted living home in Scottsdale, where the caregivers and fellow residents treated her with the utmost kindness and respect. Her family is deeply grateful to them.
Bernice touched the hearts of everyone who knew her. To her friends, she was loyal, honest, considerate and fun. To her daughters, she was a loving, caring, encouraging and supportive mother. To her late husband, Seymour, she was a beloved, beautiful and devoted wife, and the only woman he ever had eyes for.
Bernice will be remembered by many for her smile, her style, her sweetness and her collection of adorable hats. Her sensitivity, her humility, her grace and her understanding heart will never be forgotten.
Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Seymour, in 2011 and by her daughter, Susan in 2016. She is survived by her daughters Judy (Michael) Lefton and Mindy (Bill) Burns, both of Arizona, who will miss her dearly.
As Bernice aged, she grew wiser, more content, and more resilient. In April, she told her daughters: "I feel good and I have no worries. I guess I'm pretty lucky. I've had an amazing life."
- Funeral Service Sunday, June 9, 2019
- Graveside Service Sunday, June 9, 2019
IN THE CARE OF