NAUGATUCK — Bernice Josephine Neal, 98, passed away peacefully Thursday, March 26, 2015 at Beacon Brook Health Care Center in Naugatuck surrounded by her loving family members. She was the loving daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Farrell) Neal, and was a beloved aunt and great aunt.
Bernice was born July 22, 1916 in Naugatuck, where she lived her whole life. It was a life rich in family, faith, friends, generosity and kindness. She worked for Peter Paul Cadbury for 50 years in the accounts office, and was recognized at her retirement as a most dedicated and highly productive employee. Bernice had many friends with whom she traveled throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She entertained family with wonderful tales and stories of her trips.
Bernice and her sister, Elizabeth, were both great gardeners. They belonged to the Naugatuck Garden Club and loved sharing their love and knowledge of gardening with other club members. Their backyard was a showplace for many flower varieties. It had the look of an English garden from May to September. Organized groups and just passersby would often stop to view their garden. They were always met with a friendly smile and a warm welcome. Bernice had another love, which was flower arranging. Her friends and many “shut-ins” were often the recipients of her artistry. She even dried flowers in order to create “forever” arrangements. Bernice and her sister were known for their kindness and compassion. When they hear of someone in need of a little “cheering up,” as they called it, her sister Elizabeth would bake a little cake or fruit bread and Bernice would make a flower arrangement and they would both “pay a visit” to offer their support.
Bernice had a deep faith and always believed in the power of prayer. She was a lifetime communicant of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. She and her sister were great supporters and gave their time and assistance wherever needed. For many years they counted the collection proceeds after all the Sunday masses.
Bernice had a great interest in women’s basketball. She and her sister attended all the Naugatuck High School girls’ games to watch her grand-niece, Jessica Mudry, play. They attended all of the home games and were known by all as “the aunts.” They were also great followers of the UConn womens games, and they loved sharing their enthusiasm with family.
Following the death of her sister, Bernice moved to the Southmayd Home in Waterbury. Despite her 80 plus years, she became a vibrant participant in her new home. She loved the recreation activities and the field trips. Her life was once again enriched with new friends and adventures. The staff and residents at the Southmayd Home were wonderful. Her family is deeply grateful for the nurturing, caring, and homelike environment at Southmayd. During the last two years, Bernice’s medical needs required a different type of care facility. Her family found that at Beacon Brook Heath Care Center in Naugatuck. The staff welcomed Bernice with open arms and hearts. Their friendly nature and compassion made her feel welcome, safe and cared for. They met all her needs with kindness and dignity. Bernice’s family is forever grateful for their professionalism and their generosity of spirit. At Beacon Brook, Bernice was blessed to have Shirley Sullivan as her roommate. We offer our sincerest appreciation of her many acts of kindness and thoughtfulness which brightened Bernice’s days.
Bernice is survived by her niece, Eileen Mudry (John) and her nephew, Dr. Joseph Neal (Sandy); as well as several great-nieces and nephews, Eric Mudry (Duffy), Jessica Mudry (Liz), Ryan Neal (Shelby), and Meghan Francoeur (Glen), and nine great-grandnieces and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her brother, Joseph Neal; her sister, Elizabeth Neal and her sister-in-law, Irene Neal.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 9 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 338 North Main St., Naugatuck. Friends are asked to meet directly at church. Burial will follow in St. James Cemetery and there are no calling hours. The Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Naugatuck is assisting with arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Southmayd Home, 250 Columbia Blvd., Waterbury, CT 06710.
For online condolences, to share a photo or story, visit www.fordfh.com.