Bernita MeekerBernita S. Meeker of Trumansburg passed away at Seneca View Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Montour Falls on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at the age of 96.

She had been at the facility for 8 days, after a brief stay in Cayuga Medical Center. Prior to this, Bernita had lived on the little Meeker farm in Podunk (at 7118 Podunk Road) for 62+ years, the last 17 of which she lived alone, after the passing of her husband of 55+ years, Louis Grant Meeker (known by family and friends as L. Grant) in 1998.

Bernita is survived by her son, James Meeker of Trumansburg; daughters Sharon Alva of Pittsford, and Janice Parker of Endicott; 7 grandchildren: Kristen Robertson (John) residing in Ithaca; Sarah Russo (Matt) of Thousand Oaks, California; Amy Almedia (Josh) of New Fairfield, Connecticut; David and Melissa Alva (Rochester); Georgia and Hannah Guthrie (Philadelphia), as well as 4 great-grandchildren: Jesse and Evie Robertson, Max Almedia, and Bennett Russo; her sister, Valonta Cleland (Beresford, SD); as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Bernita was also predeceased by her oldest son, Gary Meeker; her daughter- in- law, Valerie Meeker; her son-in-law, James Alva; her parents; two sisters: Iona Schmid, and Neva Speich (& spouse Henry);  her brother Clifford Schmid (& spouse Gladyce); as well as her brothers-in-law, Clarence Lawrenson and Dale Cleland.

Bernita was born November 3rd, 1918, in Pleasant Valley Township near the plains settlement of Beresford, South Dakota Territory on the Schmid Family Homestead. She was the fourth of five children born to Wesley and Edna (Fredericksen) Schmid. As a young girl she attended Pleasant Valley School, a one-room schoolhouse. She attended, and received her degree from South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., in 1940 with majors in home economics and history. Her career was in teaching and she loved it. It began teaching home making, as well as civics and history to 6th graders in Armour, South Dakota for 2 years.

After moving to NYS in 1942 and marrying L. Grant, whom she had met and dated while at S. D. State, she worked in PXs across the country while he served in the Air Corps. After Grant was discharged, they settled down near Trumansburg and Bernita turned her attention to daily life on the small farm and raising their family.

After her two youngest (the twins) entered kindergarten, Bernita studied at SUNY Cortland to earn her Master’s degree and NYS teaching certification. This was no small undertaking, and just one of many signs of her determination and strength of character. Her first NYS teaching position was in 1963, in Ovid, where she taught 2nd grade. She subsequently taught at a small elementary school in Burdett for seven years until that school closed.  Bernita finished up her teaching career with ten more years in Watkins Glen, and retired in 1986 to provide a little extra care for her husband who was in failing health.

In her later years her cherished companion was Andy, a little cocker spaniel adopted from the SPCA in 1998 (d. 3/13). Another constant in Bernita’s last years was Vanessa Protts, devoted friend and caregiver since 2010.

Bernita’s family will be present to receive friends from 1:00 to 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street, Trumansburg. A Funeral Service will immediately follow at 2:00 pm at the funeral home. Prayers of Committal will follow in Grove Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a contribution in Bernita’s memory might consider the Ulysses Historical Society, the Ulysses Philomathic Library, Foodnet Meals on Wheels of Ithaca, the Trumansburg Music Boosters, the Hacktory (Philadelphia), or another charity of choice.