Bernice Potratz


July 6, 1918 — July 26, 2018
Bernice E. Potratz, 100, of Fort Dodge, died peacefully at her home, on July 26, in the company of her children and with the support of Unity Point Hospice Care.
Services were held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 30, 2018, at Corpus Christi Church. Interment will be in Corpus Christi Cemetery. The visitation was held at 4 p.m., until the vigil service at 7 p.m., Sunday, July 29, at the Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation Services.
Bernice is survived by her daughter, Patty, Des Moines, and her son, Jerry (Louise), Kalamazoo, Mich.; her granddaughter, Emily Potratz and her husband Tyler Hearst, Portage, Mich., and her great-granddaughter, Amelia; her step-grandchildren, Austin, Cameron, and Kendall Dingwall; two other great-grandchildren, Isaac Potratz, Marshall, Mich., and Alexis Potratz, Conway, Ark., their mother Nancy Peckhem Potratz, Marshall, Mich.; her step-brother, Eldon (Sue) Andre, Arlington, Texas, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, George and Mary Elizabeth Winkel, and stepmother, Evelyn; her brother, Harold Winkel, her sister, Mary Elsbecker, her husband, Hugo (Hugh), and her grandson, Todd Potratz.
Bernice Winkel, the daughter of George and Mary Elizabeth Winkel, was born July 6, 1918, in Whittemore. Bernice attended Presentation Academy and graduated from high school in 1936. She graduated from Thompson’s School of Beauty, Des Moines, in 1937, and started her own business, Milady’s Beauty Shoppe, in Algona. As a hairstylist, she even accepted some male clients, quite shocking at the time, as men were supposed to only frequent barbershops in those days. She met Hugh Potratz, while in high school, and he took her to the senior prom. When Hugh returned from the European campaign in World War II, Bernice moved to Fort Dodge and they were married on June 4, 1946. Hugh and Bernice enjoyed nearly 60 years of marriage.
To her family and friends, Bernice will forever be remembered as an actively involved, supportive, and loving person. She enjoyed welcoming visitors to her home and she loved to support the activities of her children. Along with a few other volunteers, Bernice started the school library at Corpus Christi Academy, volunteered as a den mother, when no one else stepped forward, and organized many fundraising activities for worthwhile school associations. For years, her special coffee, made with her secret ingredient of a raw egg, was the requested favorite of priests and nuns at Corpus Christi parish functions.
Bernice retired from Land O’Lakes in 1985, and enjoyed many great retirement years, with her husband Hugh. She was a key organizer of Hugh’s annual 194th Field Artillery Army Reunion, in the Amanas, and enjoyed traveling to visit family and friends throughout the country. Bernice was a huge sports fan and loved to cheer on her beloved Iowa Hawkeyes, Twins and Cubs.
Last month, 130 friends and family helped Bernice celebrate her 100th birthday, by attending a party at her home. Many people came a great distance to celebrate and spend time with her…a true testament to the impact of her love and warmth on the lives of others.
Despite her advancing age, Bernice was able to continue to live in her home until her final day. Special thanks are extended to her part-time caretakers, Shelly Porter, Sherry Moritz, and Sharon Cervene, who provided support to make this possible.
Memorials may be left to St Edmond Catholic Schools or to Unity Point Hospice Care.
 

 

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