(March 13, 1923 - April 19, 2005)
Bernice and her husband, Rupert (Bert) started square dancing in 1967 with caller John and Fran Essex. That class became a Club known as the "Metro Gnomes". Some time later because of change of dance night for the "Metro Gnomes", Bernice and Bert danced briefly with the "Hal-Dar Swing N' Stars" and then settled down as members of the "Stardusters". In the Spring of 1974, after a marriage break up, Carl Fader introduced Bernice to Alex Ritchie. At that time in history the "Stardusters" did not accept singles or those under eighteen years of age. Carl Fader decided that his Scouter friend, Alex, who had just finished his beginners square dance class, and his Starduster friend, Bernice could be classified as a couple and hence, Bernice and Alex met as Stardusters.
In the Fall of 1974 Bernice asked Alex to consider Round Dancing, and together they took their Round Dance basics under the leadership of Janet and Lionel Crowe, graduating in the spring of 1975 into the "Rebel Roundabouts" round dance club.
Bernice continued to dance with Alex and the "Rebel Roundabouts" until Janet and Lionel decided to retire as leaders and retire the Club. Bernice and Alex then, in order to continue round dancing, joined "Dancing Shadows" under the leadership of Marg and Tom Keighan. At that time Alex was cueing Rounds at the "Stardusters", and as there was now no easy level round dance club in the area, Bernice and Alex started a class and formed "Rag Rounds" with some former "Rebel Roundabouts".
When Marg and Tom Keighan retired and moved to Ontario, the rest of "Dancing Shadow" asked Bernice and Alex to assume the leadership of "Dancing Shadows".
Bernice moved to West St. Andrews and shortly thereafter in the Fall of 1983 a new dance Club was formed in Stewiacke, the "Whistle Stop Rounds". A few years later the "Whistle Stop Rounds" moved to CFB Debert and became the "Waltzaway Rounds". Later the "Waltzaway Rounds moved to Bible Hill where they continued to dance until the Spring of 1998.
Bernice, with Alex, continued being a leader for "Rag Rounds" and "Dancing Shadows" both of Dartmouth. Bernice also helped with the "Golden Squares, Rounds, & Line Dance Groups", and for ten years with the Starlite Dancers. Bernice and Alex were dancing members of the "Hub Trackers", a Plus square dance club in Truro. They were on staff for the "TeePee Camperee", "Hub Trackers New Years Ball", and the Nova Scotia Dance Federation's annual Dance Camp. Alex has stated that he was very fortunate and pleased to have Bernice as his dance partner and co-leader. In the fall of 2004 both Alex and Bernice were presented with the "MAYFLOWER AWARD" of excellence from the Square & Round Federation of Nova Scotia.
Bernice has a daughter, now Faye McLean, and two sons, Darrell and Stephen.
She was proud to boast of also having four grand children and
three great grand children.
Bernice was an avid gardener and loved to be out tending her plants.
Bernice passed away on April 19, 2005
If hugs actually required physical space there would be no building large enough to house the number she collected. We miss you Bernice!