Bernice M. McCusker
October 19, 1930 – July 16, 2018
Bernice M. McCusker, aka, “Sister Mary Johnita, RSM,” age 87 of Somerset, passed away Monday, July 16, 2018 in Charlton Memorial Hospital.
Born in Rumford, Rhode Island, a daughter of the late Bernard J. and Helena V. (Kelley) McCusker, she was a graduate of Bayview Academy class of 1947, received her Bachelors Degree from Catholic Teachers College in 1956 and earned her Masters of Education from Rhode Island College in 1969.
Ms. McCusker was a teacher in the Rhode Island Catholic School System for 21 years before becoming a teacher in the Fall River Public School System for 24 years. She taught at St. Mary’s in Newport, Rhode Island; St. Joseph in Pascoag, Rhode Island and Holy Ghost in Federal Hill, Providence Rhode Island. Bern also taught at Taylor in South Providence, Ralph M. Small in Fall River, Massachusetts and was a reading specialist at Brayton Avenue School.
It was in 1960, at Holy Ghost Convent where she met her best friend and constant companion, Leona Shea when Lee asked her “Can I help you?” Bern answered with “Sure, kid.”, and a lifelong sisterhood was formed.
Bern volunteered for many years at Clifton Nursing Home and Clifton Assisted Living, leading prayer groups and as a Eucharistic Minister. She and Lee were also known to dress as leprechauns and break into song and dance.
She was a communicant of St. Thomas More Church in Somerset.
Bernice is survived by longtime companion and friend, Leona G. Shea of Somerset; her Godson, Nicholas Thibault; her niece, Helena Mayrose and her nephew, Leonard McCusker. She was beloved by her good friends, Bruce and Denise Beaulieu. She also was loved by Leona’s family who considered her their cousin and will be missed by Kathleen Gunning and her partner Greg Ruest; Elaine Thibault and her husband Len; Patricia Albin and her husband Jack; Stephen Roy and his wife Linda; Donald Roy and his wife Debra; Michael Roy and his partner Deb Devlin; the next two generations of cousins and many close friends. She was the sister of the late James F. and John J. McCusker.
Her Funeral will be held on Friday, July 20, 2018 at 9:00AM from the Waring-Sullivan Home at Birchcrest, 189 Gardners Neck Rd., Swansea followed by her Funeral Mass at 10:00AM in St. Thomas More Church, 386 Luther Ave., Somerset. Visiting hours will be Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00PM. Burial will take place in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River.
- The late Bernard J. and Helena V. (Kelley) McCusker, Parents
- Leona G. Shea, Longtime companion and friend
- Nicholas Thibault, Godson
- Helena Mayrose, Niece
- Leonard McCusker, Nephew
- She was beloved by her good friends, Bruce and Denise Beaulieu. She also was loved by Leona’s family who considered her their cousin and will be missed by Kathleen Gunning and her partner Greg Ruest; Elaine Thibault and her husband Len; Patricia Albin and her husband Jack; Stephen Roy and his wife Linda; Donald Roy and his wife Debra; Michael Roy and his partner Deb Devlin; the next two generations of cousins and many close friends. She was the sister of the late James F. and John J. McCusker.
- Visiting Hours Thursday, July 19, 2018
- Funeral Mass Friday, July 20, 2018
- Burial Friday, July 20, 2018
Bernice M. McCusker
July 18, 2018
I met Bernice and Lee through the Fall River school department. We became friends after I got Leona down from the ledge in the room next to mine.( just kidding.) They came swimming to the pool in my backyard.Bern had the smallest legs and they never filled the bathing suit. She would come around the corner of the house and we would all have a good laugh. She was such a sweetheart. Thanks for being in my life.You made it special. I know you are playing cards and having a great time in heaven. I will miss you 🍀
Rest In Peace,
July 18, 2018
I met Bernice through her dear friend Pam Duarte. She was like a wee little leprachan. We enjoyed many good times together at the Duartes. She made a mean Irish coffee never had any so good again. She and Leona, where you saw one you saw the other. What a wonderful relationship Leona. I know your heart is broken and you must feel lost without her. But you know she would want nothing but peace and a little joy for you. I hope your large extended family and your faith will bring you solace. You all have many wonderful monents to remember. Her life was an inspiration to all who knew her.
July 18, 2018
Our family has suffered a great loss with the passing of Bernice. Her smile, her laugh, her kind and gentle way. Never a harsh word, always forgiving. It has been such a gift to us to have had her as our adopted cousin for as long as we can remember. I loved hearing her stories of mischief at the convent and how she always blamed Leona! Bernice lived the exact life she wanted. She served the Lord, contributed to the community and loved her family. Who could have asked for more? We will miss you, Bernice. May you be at peace in Heaven with your family and friends....just try to stay out of trouble...there isn't anyone there to blame!
July 18, 2018
It's still hard to believe this amazing lady is gone. She touched so many lives, in so many ways. Her calm, thoughtful manor put everyone at ease. She spoiled her Godson (Nick) at every opportunity. She rolled with the punches, never seeming to get upset, just taking it as the next thing that had to be conquered. She was a fighter (with 9 lives, it seems), and when the fight was coming to an end, she waited for her beloved Lee to arrive, before going back 'home'. The world is a better place because she was in it and we will miss her kindness and wisdom.
July 17, 2018
I remember Bernice in the first grade when I was 6....She said she was 18 at the time, but she acted like she was 50!!!!!! I had to use the rest room and went to tug on her habit. She was facing the chalk board and I scared her. She jumped and scared me. ...so, you know what happened next! She yelled and it was worse. I started to cry and she put her hand on my shoulder, went to a desk drawer and gave me a change of clothing. ....then she smiled!!! I was taken with her instantly. She was a marvelous, kind human being and was just as special to everyone who knew her! My best to Leona.... and my prayers are with you! RIP, Bernice!