December 12, 1921- December 5, 2022
Bernice Phifer -McPherson 100 years, 358 days old, was called from labor to reward on December 5, 2022. Bernice lived a purpose-filled life. Born to Robert Phillips and Mable Phillips of St. Kitts and Barbados, Bernice,youngest of two sisters was born in Harlem Hospital, New York City.
Bernice lived an active life, all her life. As teens, Bernice and her sister, Marion would spend their summers working at Camp Brighton Rock located on Broadstreet Hollow, Shandaken NY. Here they served as camp counselor and camp nurse respectively. Her love of the outdoors and her familiarity with the area would later in life inform her wish to buy property in Phoenicia. Bernice would also purchase properties in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. and in the historic Parkchester Condominiums in the Bronx, New York.
A graduate of Hunter High School, Bernice was a gifted student, graduating at just 16 years old. Bernice joined the United States Army Signal Corp. in 1939 where she was trained to make radios and other electronic communication components in support of the war effort. During her tenure, Bernice found herself stationed in Tuskegee Alabama where she would meet Thomas Phifer, a Tuskegee cadet who would later have the honor of being her husband.
Bernice worked as a bank investigator for CitiBank Corporate in New York City for 28 years until her retirement in 1984. She was highly regarded for her financial acuity and mentoring abilities.
Bernice was a survivor; she faced a number of health challenges including most recently lyme disease. And always showed great courage and humor. She enjoyed international travel, especially by cruise ship, photography, fishing and dancercise. Bernice was a novice skier and an avid collector of National Geographic and astronomy magazines so that her family could witness the world and beyond. Bernice always took great joy in looking her best!
She was a lifelong devoted member of her church, the Church of the Crucifixion in Harlem, NY which was founded by her paternal great grandfather. Bernice was a talented singer and member of the church choir. She was a member of the church’s Women’s Group which organized all fundraising activities in support of the church. But clearly, her family was her greatest joy.
Bernice leaves to celebrate her homecoming, three devoted sons Sherwood, Alan and Gary Phifer her daughter in-laws, Tina Phifer and Kristen Phifer; her grandchildren: Jessica, Brandon, Zulay, Sherwood, Matthew, Shawn and Jesse and eight great grandchildren. As well as a host of beloved nieces and nephews. She leaves behind so many devoted and special friends including : Fran Braun, Ronald and Melissa Habowski, and Doris Thomas.
Bernice is predeceased by her husband Thomas Phifer and her second husband, Egbert McPherson, her mother, father, her sister Marion and far too many friends and relatives.
Well done, our sweet and devoted mother, wife, auntie, sister & friend.
Hallelujah you’re home!
Memorial arrangements are under the guidance of the E. B. Gormley Funeral Home 87 Main St. Phoenicia. You may share a special memory, photo, or condolence with the family on Bernice's Tribute Wall at www.gormleyfuneralhom.com
A Memorial Service to Celebrate the Life of Bernice will be announced.