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Bernice Marie ‘Bernie’ Graf Barnes, 83, proud of her diversified career as a registered nurse

Bernice Marie ‘Bernie’ Graf Barnes

WILMINGTON — Bernice Marie “Bernie” Graf Barnes, 83, was called home to God peacefully surrounded by family Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, from Haven House at Davis Health Center, Wilmington, where she lived the last 18 months of her earthly life.

Bernice was born Dec. 6, 1936, to Marcelle and Walter Graf in Teaneck, New Jersey, the youngest of four children. Bernice was three years old when her father passed away. Her mother miraculously managed to keep her family together, caring for the children, providing a good home and working to keep it all together. Love of God, responsibility and the need for a good education was emphasized to the children at an early age, which Bernice used as her philosophy of life.

Being raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, Bernice attended Catholic grammar school. After graduation, she earned a high school scholarship to Holy Angels Academy for Girls in Fort Lee. Her desire always being to care for others. Bernice continued her studies and pursued a long career in nursing. She graduated from St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1957. She kept her R.N. license active and current for over 50 years. Bernice was extremely proud of her long, diversified career as a registered nurse, and held licenses in New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.

After retiring from St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1992, Bernice and her husband Jim moved to Wilmington. During her early retirement years in North Carolina, both of her sons earned doctorate degrees and set up their practices in the Wilmington area. Some of her proudest moments were assisting them in establishing their offices.

Bernice is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 56 years, Jim, who she adored. They were married in 1963. In addition to her husband, Bernie is also survived by her sons, Dr. James Barnes, and his wife, Dr. Janel Barnes, of Wilmington and Dr. Joseph Barnes of Hampstead; daughter, Maureen Brooks, and her husband, Dr. Christopher Brooks, of Alpharetta, Georgia; grandchildren, Jimmy Barnes and Tommy Barnes, both of Wilmington, and McKenna Brooks of Alpharetta, Georgia; and many nieces and nephews.

Bernie had a very deep love for her family. She was devoted to raising her three children and made many sacrifices over the years to be the very best mom that she could. She showed her love in many ways. One of which was in her skills as a master chef.

She created many delicious meals that others could never seem to replicate. Her favorite items to create were desserts. She had a special knack to always create masterpieces that many raved over. In the 1970’s while raising her family in the Packanack Woods section of Wayne, New Jersey. Bernie entered many competitions and was a placement winner in both the Pillsbury Cook-off and Campbell Soup Original Recipe competitions. Bernie also had a love for music and was a very accomplished pianist. A talent that she inherited from her dad, who was also an accomplished pianist and had his own orchestra in NYC.

Bernie and Jim have been active members of St. Mark Catholic Church since they moved to Wilmington, where she served on various committees. Bernie was a volunteer with the American Red Cross as well as the American Heart Association.

A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan 31, at St. Mark Catholic Church, Wilmington, with Father Gregory Spencer officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to Mass. Interment will be private for immediate family following Mass.

We would like to thank the many caring staff members and friends she made at Davis Healthcare Center, who are too numerous to name individually, for exceptional care during Bernie’s time living there.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Bernice’s name to a charity of your choice.

Share online condolences with the family at Quinn-McGowen Funeral Home.

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