On June 20, 2022 at 7 a.m., Bernice Conley departed this life to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
She was born in Hurlock to James R. Brown and Elinor Swain Truitt. Bernice had a step mother, Louise English Brown, since the age of two.
She attended North Dorchester High School, graduating in 1964. She also took several courses at Del-Tech and continued to take any courses that became available dealing with people with mental disabilities.
Bernice was a contractor for the state of Delaware with DDDS for 26 years. She worked at Stockley Center, leaving there and going into day programming for approximately 14 and a quarter years before being injured on the job and going out on disability. She decided to start keeping clients in her home as they became a big part of her life. She stayed very active with the mentally challenged and did three get togethers a year consisting of dinner and dancing at the Seaford Moose Lodge for ARC. Seaford Moose was very supportive in her endeavors with these projects. Christmas was the greatest. ARC awarded her the Outstanding Service Award for Outstanding Services to Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in 2010. She also got an award letter from Representative Tina Fallon for her outstanding work.
In 1997, she drove a school bus for Chambers Bus Service for the orthopedically handicapped and for Seaford School District. She was also employed by Nanticoke Senior Center several times throughout the years as Outreached Worker with the Homebound Meal Program.
She was a member of Concord Methodist Church, a life member in the American Legion Auxiliary Post 6 in Seaford, life member in V.F.W. Auxiliary in Seaford, life member of Harley Owners Group (HOG) earning a place in Easy Rider Magazine February of 1993 for first place People’s Choice Award with her 1992 Harley Sportster. She was a lifetime member at the Seaford Moose Lodge 1384 Women of The Moose where she won the top honors as Novice Co-Worker of the year 1994-1995 for Maryland/Delaware/D.C. and went on to Florida to compete and win as International Novice Co-Worker of the year. She felt it was a great honor to win locally but to win internationally was awesome. She was a member of the Southern Delaware Street Rod Association and a member of the Retreads Motor Cycle Group.
Bernice was a people-person who loved helping everyone she could. She was very kind-hearted and giving of all she could. She was known to do without, to give to someone else in need. A lot of people counted on her kindness to help them through their rough times. She was always there to help and listen and do all she could possibly do to help them.
She was an animal and critter lover. Children loved to visit to play with all the critters. Her latest ones were her African Gray, Mr. Pepper, who had a fantastic vocabulary, and three fur babies: one mini-Pomeranian, Kinder, and two Yorkies, Ranger and Barbie. They were like children and just as spoiled.
She also enjoyed the beauty of her flowers. She loved her yard and watching the flowers bloom.
Bernice really enjoyed going on cruises including Australia, Europe, Italy, France, England, Hawaii, Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, etc. Australia was the one she loved the most. She loved the koala bears and kangaroos and the land was so impressive. She just loved life itself! She said she never needed a bucket list as she had done more in life than she ever expected to.
Family was very important and she loved all her family. The grandkids and great-grandkids brought joy to her life. Each and every one had a special place in her heart.
Saturday mornings used to find her at the yard sales and flea market. She seemed to be buying more for other people than herself. In the evenings, she loved to go fishing with mate Jerry- It was a catch release time!
Bernice was preceded in death by her father James R. Brown, mother Elinor Swain, and step mother Louise Brown. Her husband and father of her sons, Robert Earl Conley, passed away in 1982, and her second husband, Earl Lawless, passed away in 1999. She was also proceeded by half-brother Bernie, half-sister Bonnie, step brother George Harris, and step sisters Mary Harris and Ellen Harris Shortie.
She is survived by her two sons Robert E. Conley, Jr. and James T. Conley and his wife Darlene, both of Seaford; four grandchildren: Robert Conley III (Trey) and wife Leah of Wilmington, Taylor Bissette and husband Nick of Houston, Brittney Conley and fiancé Mike Pusey of Parsonsburg, Brandon Conley and fiancée Anna Webster of Laurel. Bernice was also blessed with great-grandchildren: Robert Conley IV (Robbie), Camryn Conley-Daudt, Axel Pusey, Ryder Conley, Krew Conley, and Arlo Bissette. There also are two half-sisters, Mary Lou of Kenton and Donna of Milford, several nieces and nephews, and two God children: Leah and Jason Alverez.
Jerry Caudill became her life partner. Jerry stood by her and was a very big and important part of her life. She relied on him extensively. He was a true supporter and they were truly good for each other. When you saw them together, you knew how much they loved each other.
The viewing and service were held on June 24 at Cranston Funeral Home in Seaford. Burial was at Asbury Cemetery on Rt. 9 with Chaplin Bill with Hospice and Rev. Jones with Concord Church officiating.
To leave a condolence visit www.cranstonfuneralhome.com.