On January 30, 2017, Bernice Bales Campbell joined her husband of 66 years, Earl Clarence Campbell, on their eternal journey. Bernice was born in Rocky, Arkansas, on September 18, 1919 to Merton and Amanda Miller Bales.
She was preceded in death by her mother in 1952, her father in 1967, brothers Osborne in 1930 and Clyde in 2015, husband Earl Clarence Campbell in 2005, and daughter Marcia Ann in 1945.
Survivors include daughters, Needra Campbell of Cave Springs, AR, Connie Davis and husband Steve of Mena, AR; son, Gary Campbell and wife Jo Ann of Fort Smith, AR; seven grandchildren, Amanda Allwhite of Lowell, AR, Jason (Dr. Wiltrud Fassbinder) Campbell of Pittsburgh, PA, Angela Farmer and husband Mark of Cave Springs, AR, Alex Campbell and wife Rachel of Woodinville, WA, Patrick Campbell of Maryville, TN, Natalie Darnell and husband Dr. Scott of Little Rock, AR, Andrew Holub and wife Nina of Little Rock, AR; great-grandchildren, Cameron Balusek, Colton Nations, Oliver Campbell, Ada Campbell, Sigrid Campbell, Owen Darnell, Henry Darnell, Benjamin Darnell, and Lilly Bernice Holub.
The depression era was difficult on farm families and Bernice’s was no exception. At age eleven, she had to assume the farm chores such as milking cows and working in the fields when her brother Osborne passed away. This experience made Bernice a determined, hard-working woman.
After finishing Rocky School, Bernice was so determined to finish high school that she walked eight miles into Mena, found a job as a live-in housekeeper and completed Mena High School in three years. During art class she was introduced to art and painting, which lit a spark that reappeared years later. The dream came alive at age sixty when she began to take art lessons at Rich Mountain Community College and Wenatchee Valley College when vacationing there in the summers.
After retirement, Bernice and Earl drove all 49 states in their motor home and visited Hawaii, Bermuda and Europe. Bernice also learned photography recording their adventures with thousands of slides. Bernice used these slides as inspiration to paint countless art pieces, which still hang in her home.
During their travels and the many summers in Wenatchee, WA, she took junior college classes in art. While back in Mena between trips, Bernice attended Rich Mountain Community College focusing on art classes and with freelance art instructors in the area. Along the way, some observed that she was very near to completing the requirements for graduation. At age seventy, she graduated with a degree from RMCC, making her the fourth family member to earn a degree. She got her degree after making sure that her three children had received their degrees.
In 2016, some of her children and grandchildren joined forces to publish a book of her paintings. Copies of the 82-page book are being donated to the Mena Public Library and RMCC in memory of Bernice.
Memorials in Bernice’s name can be made to Rocky Cemetery Fund, 477 Polk 93, Mena AR 71953.
Funeral services will be Friday, February 3, 2017, 2:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church with Brother Terry Chapman officiating. Interment will follow in the Rocky Cemetery under the direction of the Beasley Wood Funeral Home of Mena.
Family and friends visitation will be Thursday, February 2, 2017 at Beasley Wood from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Pallbearers will be Jason, Campbell, Patrick Campbell, Scott Darnell, Andrew Holub, Colton Nations and Mark Farmer.
Honorary pallbearers are Alex Campbell, Lee Fountain, and Shelton Bohlman.