Bernice P. White
January 25, 1943 – February 1, 2022
The daughter of Charles and Margaret Meesig, Bernice was born in Fort Lee, NJ. She graduated from Our Lady of Fatima School (Fort Lee) and was an alumna of the St. Cecilia High School (Englewood) Class of 1960.
As a young woman, Bernice enjoyed spending time with family and friends, weekends at the iconic Palisades Amusement Park, and casual dining at Callahan’s.
Upon graduation, Bernice accepted an administrative position in the Manhattan offices of national retail giant W.T. Grant. After-work outings with friends fueled a life-long love affair with “The Big Apple.”
In 1964, Bernice wed John F.X. White, with whom she cherished a 56-year marriage and raised three sons: David, Michael and Keith.
Bernice was a life-long resident of New Jersey. The couple began their life together in Rochelle Park and later Hillsdale, before establishing a nearly 30-year residence in River Vale and finally a more than 20-year residence in Toms River.
Bernice generously donated her time to many charitable endeavors. As a teenager, she was a candy striper volunteer at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck. She later delivered nutrition to homebound seniors through Bergen County Meals-on-Wheels.
Bernice was actively involved in her sons’ participation in the Boy Scouts of America. She embraced her role as a den mother for Cub Scout Pack 335 and was a supportive guide during her oldest son’s journey to Eagle Scout.
Bernice enjoyed a diverse career in the airline industry and took pride in delighting customers. Her tenure with United Airlines began as an agent at the New York City Reservation Center located in Rockleigh. “The Rock,” as UAL retirees affectionately term the facility, provided some of her most enduring professional memories.
Bernice’s later service included pre-dawn shifts as a Continental Airlines Gate Agent at Newark International Airport. She relished customer contact and was known for her ubiquitous smile and light-hearted conversation with business travelers and celebrities alike. Bernice fondly recalled greeting Guns ‘N’ Roses guitar legend Slash at the International Arrivals Gate and securing autographs for her sons. To understand that interaction is to know Bernice’s fun-loving spirit.
A devotee of travel, Bernice enjoyed bringing her family on day trips to Chicago for deep-dish pizza, weekend getaways to San Francisco, and savoring Pacific sunsets on Waikiki Beach.
Fiercely proud of her Irish-American ancestry, Bernice treasured trips to the wind-swept Cliffs of Moher, the harrowing approach to the Ring of Kerry, and tipping pints of Guinness to merry shouts of Slainte! in the Temple Bar quarter of Dublin.
Bernice was an ardent supporter of her sons’ various athletic endeavors. Whether bundled against the chill of unheated ice rinks, enduring the summer heat in the stands at Little League baseball games, or enthusiastically shouting encouragement from Garden State cross country courses, she was their biggest fan.
Bernice’s family was her greatest passion. Trips to the Jersey Shore with her husband and sons, parish bingo games with her sister, Jean, and playtime with pampered pups brought a smile to her face.
In the late 1990s, Bernice left the private sector and pursued the higher calling of public service. She served in administrative roles with the townships of Hillsdale, Mahwah, and Toms River, before her retirement from the Toms River Police Department’s Records Division.
Beyond community service, Bernice’s lasting legacy will be the life of high purpose which she lived to the fullest. A devoted wife and loving mother, she displayed unwavering commitment to her family and those who were privileged to be her friends. Bernice exemplified selfless sacrifice. Every day in every way, she simply made the world a brighter, more hopeful place.
Bernice was a woman of great faith. As a young girl, she accompanied family on an arduous pilgrimage to the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre (Quebec) to seek divine intervention for her sick niece, Virginia. In her adulthood, she was an active member of the Our Lady of Victories (Harrington Park) Home School Association. She and John served as lectors at Sunday mass, and Bernice was an ardent practitioner of Rosary devotion.
Bernice is preceded in death by her husband, John, sisters Marion (Delaney), Virginia (Conboy), and Jean (Delaney), and her brother, Charles. She is survived by sons David (Victoria), Michael (Karen), and Keith (Gretchen), and a granddaughter, Kristen, to whom she imparted the values which defined her.
Archdiocese of New York Bishop-Designate John S. Bonnici will officiate a Roman Catholic funeral mass on Saturday, February 5, 2022 (11:00am) at the Church of St. Augustine, 18 Cherry Avenue, Larchmont, NY. Interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 10 West Stevens Avenue, Hawthorne, NY, will follow immediately thereafter.