- February 20, 2018
On Sunday, February 27, 2022, Mrs. Bernice Hays of Winter Garden, Florida, entered into her Heavenly home. Born Bernice Alfreda Schwerdtfeger, on Feb. 11, 1922, in McLean County, Kentucky, to Mr. Farrand C. Schwerdtfeger and Ara Pinkston Schwerdtfeger, she was valedictorian of her high school class at Spottsville, Kentucky, in 1939.
She married Dixon D. Hays. While Dixon served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, Bernice accompanied him to several duty stations and worked in defense related industries herself.
Bernice and Dixon settled in Henderson County, Kentucky, until moving to Florida in 1950. In 1957, the family moved to Winter Garden, where Dixon was employed by Florida Power Corporation. Bernice was a homemaker who participated in her children’s education as a homeroom mother and volunteer for school trips.
One of the many ways Bernice inspired people was teaching the 4-year-old Sunday School class at the First Baptist Church of Winter Garden for more than 30 years. Bernice and Dixon served many years on the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Team. In her later years, she volunteered as a cook on mission teams to Montana, Wyoming and Kentucky. Her zest for life, her independence and her love for Jesus were very important to her.
The family is exceptionally grateful for the many gestures of love, including the more than 160 people who attended her 100th birthday party Feb. 12, 2022.
Bernice was predeceased by her husband of 66 years, Dixon. She is survived by two children, her son, Alan (Jeanne) of Umatilla, Florida, and her daughter, Phyllis Jane (Jonathan) Latham, of Kilgore, Texas. Bernice leaves seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family is encouraging those who wish, to make a memorial donation to:
Meridzo Ministries, PO Box 425, Lynch, KY 40855.