In Rosebud, Texas on June 12, 1933, Seth and Zelmer Roberson welcomed their second child, a daughter named Bernice Marie. At the tender age of two, Bernice lost her mother to illness. After her mother’s death, her father remarried and blessed her with five more siblings, Charlie, “Lil Bit,” Betty, Merlene, and Nancy. Her older brother, Lawrence was raised by their grandmother and Bernice was raised by her grandmother’s sister, Maggie Fullylove Starks, in San Angelo, Texas. Bernice Marie Roberson completed her education in San Angelo, graduating from Blackshear High School, where she had been crowned Miss Blackshear High School.
Upon graduation, Bernice attended Prairie View A&M College. While at home in San Angelo on a holiday break from school, she met her soon-to-be husband, Herbert Bailey. Herbert had just completed his pilot’s training at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo. They met while he was visiting a fellow pilot who was renting one of Ms. Stark’s apartments behind her funeral home. They married, and the young Captain and his bride travelled domestically and internationally as he served his country and Bernice was a homemaker managing their home. To that union, three children were born during their travels, Michael Bailey, Sr. was born in Waco, Texas, Rhonda Lynette Bailey Staton in Stephenville, Newfoundland (Canada) and Carlton Barnard Bailey in Mobile, Alabama.
After her husband’s service commission, the family initially settled in Mobile, Alabama with a final relocation to San Antonio, Texas, where the family established roots. Bernice and her family joined Second Baptist Church, under the direction of Rev. Samuel H. James in 1966. She remained a faithful and active member serving in several ministries including the Senior Usher Board, the Women’s Missionary Union, and a greeter at the Second Baptist Community Center, until being called home to be with the Lord.
Bernice’s professional career began after her children were well established in school. She embarked on a new and rewarding career with the San Antonio School District. She worked as an administrative assistant at Douglas and Poe Middle Schools, where she was a dedicated employee until her retirement. After her retirement, she and her late husband enjoyed traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren until his death in 1999.
After the death of her husband, Bernice met and enjoyed a wonderful companionship with Richmond Smith. Preceded in death by husband, Herbert, brothers, Lawrence and Charlie, sisters “Lil Bit”, Merlene, and Betty. She leaves to cherish her memory, her sister Nancy in Ft. Worth, TX, her sister-in-law, Norma Jean in Tacoma, Washington. Her three children, Michael (Michelle), Carrollton, TX, Rhonda, Mercer Island, WA and Carlton (Phyllis), San Antonio. Her three grandchildren, Angela Bailey Heidel, MD, (Mark), Brentwood, TN, Michael Bailey, Jr., MD (Ashley), Cypress, TX, and Kimberly, San Antonio, TX and a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, a nephew, and cousins.
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