Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


March 21, 2014

Bernice Tollenaere

Bernice Rosalia Tollenaere was born June 9, 1921, in Chicago, Ill., the daughter of Fred and Lena (Prinz) Biller.

She graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Chicago and then worked for Bell Telephone. On Jan. 4, 1944, Bernice was united in marriage to Albert Tollenaere at St. Odillo’s Catholic Church in Berwyn, Ill. She and Albert made their home in Oak Park, Ill., for most of their married life. Bernice was a member of the Women’s Chorus in Oak Park and a Campfire leader for several years.

On April 1, 1979 Albert passed away. Bernice stayed in Oak Park until moving to Knoxville in 1992. In Knoxville, Bernice became an active member of St. Anthony Catholic Church. She enjoyed serving the community of Knoxville by volunteering in many local organizations. Bernice found Knoxville to be a very welcoming home in her later years. In her spare time, she enjoyed quilting, knitting and reading. She also loved to travel with family and friends.

Bernice passed away on Sunday, March 16, 2014, at the Knoxville Hospital at the age of 92 years.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Albert; brother, George Biller and her sister, Ruth Svoboda.

She is survived by her children: Pauline (Tom) Petterson of Tigard, Ore.; Claudette (Harold) Sanderson of Elmhurst, Ill.; Peter (Kathy) Tollenaere of Fairfield, and Patty (Don) Beebout of Chariton; 10 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren and many other family members and friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Anthony Catholic Church – Knoxville on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, with Rev. Stephen P. Ebel, Celebrant and Jim Brees and Kurt Sanderson, readers. Musical selections were performed by Mary Burke, Music Director and the songs were “Be Not Afraid”, “You are Mine”, “Mother Beloved” by Katie Davis, soloist, and “Amazing Grace”.

Casket Bearers were Kurt Sanderson, Aaron Beebout, Eric Petterson, Kyle Dyer and Jm Brees. Interment was in Queen of Heaven Cemetery – Hillside, Ill., on Thursday, March 20, 2014, with Deacon Tony Statafore, Celebrant and Harry Sanderson, reader. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to H.C.I. Care Services, St. Anthony Catholic Church or to the Knoxville Public Library. Bybee & Davis Funeral Home handled arrangements and online condolences may be left at

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