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1410 E Bowman Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88001-3001
Phone: (575) 526-2419
Fax: (575) 526-7944

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Bernice Anderson
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Bernice Evangeline
Anderson (Ehrlich)
1928 - 2023
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Obituary for Bernice Evangeline Anderson (Ehrlich)

Bernice Evangeline  Anderson (Ehrlich)
On August 26, 2023 Bernice Evangeline Ehrlich Anderson passed away at her home with all four of her children present. Bernice was 95 and died from leukemia. Bernice’s birth in 1928 was a great celebration for her family as she was the first child born in the new home her parents had built in Follett, Texas. Bernice’s parents were Otilla ‘Tillie’ (Laubhan) and Asaph E. Ehrlich. Her older siblings, Gene and Joanna, had dark brown eyes and when their new blue-eyed sister was added to the family one of her nicknames became “Bernie Blue Eyes”. All her life people remarked on Bernice’s luminous blue eyes.

Bernie was a friendly, bright, adventurous child who loved to play with her siblings, cousins and school friends. Once she climbed the town’s water tower! Another time Bernie and her best friend walked nine miles on the railroad tracks from Follett to Darrouzett, Texas. The two girls showed up unexpectedly at her best friend’s aunt’s home where the flabbergasted aunt graciously welcomed them in and invited them to stay the night. The girls’ parents were called and all was arranged.

Bernice was a voracious reader all her life. As a girl she had dreams of reading every book in the small-town library. Her high school years at Follett High School were active amidst the tumult of World War II. Despite the war’s uncertainty, many things were unchanged. High School Girls’ basketball was popular and widely followed across Texas. Bernie played ‘guard’ position. As a senior, her team advanced to the High School Girls’ Basketball League of Texas state tournament. They lost the championship round – but were still heralded by Follett’s townspeople for going as far as they did.

In 1945 Bernice graduated as Valedictorian of her class and received several scholarships from universities and colleges across Texas. She decided to continue her education at West Texas State College in Canyon, Texas where she majored in History. While at West Texas State she became a member of Gamma Phi sorority and engaged in a lively social life on campus. Her scrapbook from those years is full of playbills, invitations to sorority dinners and dances, and programs from football and basketball games.
When she graduated, she accepted a job teaching in her hometown of Follett. Near the end of her first year of teaching, fate took a hand in Bernie’s life in the form of a friend who convinced her she should apply for a teaching position with better pay in the little town of Lovington, New Mexico. It was there that Bernice met the love of her life, Robert ‘Bob’ Anderson. A courtship of nine months was followed by a summer proposal and a wedding in Follett on November 13, 1952.

Bernie and Bob began married life on their farm/ranch outside of Lovington. They welcomed their first child – a daughter, Amy Eryn, in 1953. They left the ranch following the collapse of the cotton market in 1954. Between 1954 and 1962 their family grew. Their second daughter, Valerie Beth Anderson was born in 1957, followed by the birth of their first son, Lon Robert Anderson in 1959 and the birth of their second son, Lee Evan Anderson in 1960. During these years, the family lived in Lubbock, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In 1962 the family moved to Socorro, New Mexico and the next year Bernice returned to teaching. When the family moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1974 Bernice completed a master’s degree in education (Reading Specialist) at New Mexico State University. Her last years of teaching were spent at Gadsden Middle School in Gadsden, New Mexico.

Retirement found Bernie fully engaged in life: she and Bob were charter members of the Las Cruces Tennis Club, and she even played tennis with the celebrity singer Kenny Rogers once. She was a 50 year member of P.E.O. Her love of all things beautiful expressed itself in collecting vintage linens, depression glass, and various antiques. Her houseplants carried the great outdoors inside.

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband Robert, by her parents, and by her two sisters, Joanna and Joyce, and two brothers, Gene and Maurice. She is survived by two brothers, Laubhan J. and Robert Tracy; her daughter, Amy Anderson Silverthorn (Lee); her daughter, Valerie Anderson Shelley (Kenneth); her son, Lon Robert Anderson (Denise); and son Lee Evan Anderson (Kathy); ten grandchildren (Bryan Silverthorn, Lesley Silverthorn Marincola, Severn Shelley, Desta Shelley Parkinson, Summer Shelley Godinez, Dylan Anderson, Cole Anderson, Evan Anderson, Christen Skillman, and Kevin Konchalski); and twenty- six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service for Bernice will be held on October 14th, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces.

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