Our beloved matriarch, affectionately known as “Bo”, passed away peacefully on March 16, 2011 at the age of 94. What a life she led. She was born October 5, 1916 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the youngest of 11 children of Sam and Veola Beverly. She grew up in San Antonio, Texas, graduating from Douglass High School at the age of 15. Graduating from Prairie View College at the age of 19, she married Dr. Alonzo M.Wilkins, Jr. The family lived in Griffin, Georgia with their 3 children, Alonzo III, Inez and Lucille (“Kitty Lou”). They moved to Los Angeles in 1944.
Following the death of her husband, Bernice taught in L. A. Unified School District, a position she held for 30 years, including a term as vice-principal. She received a Master’s Degree from the Univ. of Southern California. She was a licensed real estate broker, working with E.E. Holt Realty. In 1950, she married David W. Arbor. A daughter, Danice, was born to this union. Bernice and Dave opened Circle R Camp in Val Verde, an interracial summer camp in Southern California. After their divorce, Bernice and Dave remained friends and companions until his death in 1994.
Bernice moved to Las Vegas in 1989.
Bernice was a member of Holman Methodist Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, a founding member of the L.A. Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Emanon Bridge Club, Arlington Heights and new Frontier Democratic Clubs, and the Los Angeles Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Assc.. She was active in politics and hospital volunteer work and youth organizations.
She traveled the world and learned to ski at the age of 65.
Bernice was preceded in death by her parents; ten siblings; two husbands; faithful friend, Bob Franks; and devoted companion, Raymond Head, Jr. of Griffin. She is survived by her children, Alonzo M.Wilkins, III (Sandra), Inez Viola Roberson (Ernest), Lucille Katherine Wilkins and Danice Arbor Johnson; grandsons, Alonzo M.Wilkins, IV, David Hoskins Wilkins, Eric Arbor Smith and Vincent Paul Johnson, Jr.; 7 great-grandchildren , 2 great greatgrandchildren; sisters-in-law, Autry Arbor and Addie Arbor; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and too many friends to count.
Bernice was full of life. She loved to talk, dance and always had a good joke or story to tell. Her generosity and vivacious spirit will forever remain in our hearts. Baptized in the Jordan River, Bernice believed in God’s grace, last attending Faith United Methodist Church, Griffin. We were blessed to have her as our mother. She was so loved. Words cannot express how much she will be missed. A memorial service will be held at noon, Thursday, April 14, Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, California.