Bernice Jean (Rupp) Hartzell, of Twisp, was born to Sylvan and Pearl (Frey) Rupp in Wauseon, Ohio on June 19, 1933. Bernice was the fourth of seven children growing up on the family farm in northwest Ohio. Bernice Hartzell was 86 years old at the time of her death on Oct. 31, 2019. She was a lifelong Christian and held strong beliefs. She remained faithful to the end.
Bernice got a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Goshen College, and then a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University. She taught nursing in Goshen, Indiana, before moving to Seattle, where she worked in public health. There, she met Ward Hartzell through an early computer dating service. They were wed on Dec. 26, 1964. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer carried the front-page headline, “Cupid Computer Clicks for Compatible Couple.”
Through the 1970s, Bernice did accounting for her husband’s landscaping business while caring for three young children. In 1979, the family moved to Twisp, where they homesteaded on property just below McClure Mountain. Bernice started working for Okanogan Regional Home Health Care in 1980, for the next 18 years until her retirement in 1998 as director of the 70-person agency with offices from Okanogan to Davenport.
Bernice enjoyed gardening and putting up food, cooking, reading, Bible study, and serving at Omak Seventh-day Adventist Church where they attended.
Bernice is survived by her husband, Ward; son Derek (Sara) Hartzell of Twisp, and grandson Ethan; son Craig (Terri) Hartzell of Renton, Washington, and grandchildren Nathan and Kaylin; daughter Janet (Roger) Evans of Kent, Washington, and grandchildren Roger “Martin” (Kelly) and Lexie; brother Lowell “Sie” (Jueldine) Rupp of Archbold, Ohio; sisters Marcile Nofziger of Archbold, Ohio, and Margaret (Carl) Smeltzer of Harrisonburg, Virginia; and sister-in-law Peggy Rupp of Pettisville, Ohio.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Melva (Doyle) Short and Betty (Cliff) Liechty, an infant sister Janice, her infant granddaughter Aleah, brother-in-law Merrill Nofziger, and her brother Roger Rupp (by one day).
There will be a memorial service at Omak Seventh-day Adventist church in Omak on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m.