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Bernice Cervone

November 20, 1930 — June 28, 2020

Bernice Cervone

Poet and artist Bernice Kuenzig Cervone died on June 28, 2020, at her home in Haverhill, MA, after an extended illness, surrounded by her immediate family and her pastor.

Born in Munhall, PA, on November 20, 1930, Bernice Mary Clare was the first child of Herman John and Alma Catherine (Steiner) Kuenzig. After graduating from St. Agatha’s High School in Meadville, PA, she studied art for several years at Divine Providence Academy, Allison Park, PA, where she also taught younger students. The family retains several of her fine paintings from this period. She later worked as a secretary, serving at Talon Slide Fastener Co., Allegheny College (Meadville, PA), and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, IL.

In addition to writing poems, she provided words for music, including two operas, composed by her husband, D. Donald Cervone, to whom she was married on September 26, 1959, in Meadville, PA. By means of a Ford Foundation grant the two of them were part of a project to study opera production at New York City Opera, she as a librettist and he as a composer. Two more Ford Foundation programs took them to Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula, Montana, and then Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where her husband was composer-in-residence for the public school systems. They later lived in Rochester, Brockport, and Spencerport, New York, before moving to Haverhill.

Bernice was a loving, intelligent, articulate, and caring woman, meticulous in whatever she set her mind and hands to. She loved people and especially children, and was mom to many who loved her and were nurtured by her, from neighborhood children to the family’s foster children in India. She enjoyed gardening, too, as well as birds and animals, and saw beauty in nature and in people around her. Design was another strength and interest, as was organizing and making things happen. She researched and documented the family’s genealogy. She wasn’t afraid of hard work. Her love for her family—near and far—was unbounded, as was theirs for her.  She will be greatly missed.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and is survived by her husband of sixty years, their children Gian Carlo Cervone (Rochester, NY), Davide Piero Cervone (Presha Niedermeyer; Morgantown, WV), Maria Anina Cervone (Reading, MA), and Cristina Maria Cervone (Memphis, TN); brother Daniel Kuenzig (Barbara; Erie, PA); sisters Marian Kuenzig (Rochester, NY), Carol Kuenzig (Rochester, NY), and Monica Winston (Jay; Watertown MA); and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

While following CDC guidelines of social distancing and mask wearing, visitation will be held on Sunday, July 5, 2020 from 4-6 PM at STEPHEN P. MIZNER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, INC., 404 CHESTNUT ST., MEADVILLE, where a Scripture Service will be held at 5:30 PM.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 AM on Monday, at St. Agatha Roman Catholic Church, 353 Pine Street, Meadville, with Fr. Jeff Lucas, Pastor, officiating. CDC Guidelines will be followed.

Bernice will be laid to rest in St. Brigid Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be made to Sacred Hearts Parish, 48 South Chestnut St., Bradford, MA 01835; Red Cloud Indian School, 100 Mission Drive, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD 57770; or Unbound, 1 Elmwood Ave., Kansas City, KS 66103.

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Past Services


Sunday, July 5, 2020

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Stephen P. Mizner Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. - Meadville

404 Chestnut Street, Meadville, PA 16335

CDC Guidelines of social distancing and mask wearing will be followed. Scripture Service will be held at 5:30 PM

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Monday, July 6, 2020

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Agatha Roman Catholic Church

353 Pine Street, Meadville, PA 16335

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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