Bernice Katherine Harris
Bernice Katherine Harris was taken home by our Lord on Dec. 2, 2019, at Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids, where she resided for several years. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids on Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. Visitation will be held at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home on Dec. 8, from 4 to 7 p.m., with a rosary starting at 4 p.m.
Bernice was born Feb. 4, 1916, in Chicago, Ill., and was the adopted daughter of John and Emma (Hruska) Zak. They lived on a farm in northern Iowa, later moving to Cedar Rapids. She attended Mount Mercy School Academy for small girls, established in 1928, completing the 11th grade. Bernice was fluent in the Czech language; she could read, write, and speak it. She also sang on the local radio station in Czech in her youth and in the church choir.
Bernice was united in marriage to Roy V. Harris on March 17, 1942, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Camp Berkeley, Texas, after Roy was drafted into the U.S. Army. There, they received the blessing of sacramental marriage. Her parents were their best man and matron of honor. Bernice worked at a dairy in Texas, and also ironed uniforms for soldiers. They were blessed with six children. Bernice's greatest gift to her children was her belief in God and the Catholic faith, and she insisted that her children attend St. Wenceslaus School and Regis High School, even though it was a great sacrifice for her and Roy.
Bernice loved her grandchildren and their children, remembering all of their names and always asked about them. She was a devoted fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Iowa Hawkeyes.
Bernice was a stay-at-home mom and took on ironing to earn some extra money. Later in her life, she worked at St. Luke's Hospital in the laundry department and loved to operate the mangle. Bernice loved animals and never got angry when her children brought one home. Bernice said she wanted to become a veterinarian. She was always kind to the poor, unloved, disabled and orphaned.
All of her life, she was a parishioner of St. Wenceslaus Church. She also was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and Navy Mothers Club of America. Bernice loved to crochet, read and sing, especially country western and polka music.
Left to cherish her memory are her children, Victoryann (Tom) Podhajsky of Garwin, Iowa, LeRoy Harris of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Bernita (Harris) Beltz of Cedar Rapids; nine grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren.
In eternal life, Bernice has joined her parents; her beloved sons, Joseph, James and John; beloved daughter-in-law, Sharon (Casey) Harris; and beloved son-in-law, Harry Beltz.
A special thanks to all at Heritage Specialty Care and Care Initiatives Hospice for their loving care of Bernice during her life and final days.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to Bernice's family.
Online condolences may be directed to the family at cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.