Bernice E. Sanders, 77, of Mentor, was born Feb. 22, 1941, in Louisville, Miss., to the late Otis Learie and Genoa Eiland. She passed away Sunday, March 4, 2018, at The Cleveland Clinic.
In 1953, at the age of 12, Bernice accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, was baptized and united in membership with Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. Sunday School and Baptist Training Union (B.T.U.), were attended weekly. That early exposure to the church and study of God’s word stayed with Bernice all her life. Her faith continued to grow and was a great source of strength until her death.
Upon locating to Cleveland, she united with East Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Living in Mentor and going to church in Cleveland did not allow the children to be actively involved in Children’s Ministry. After many years of traveling to Cleveland, she united with Willow-Hill Baptist Church, where she taught Sunday School for many years. She later united with Bethel Church of Cleveland Heights, where she served as Trustee, Sunday School teacher and Superintendent. After many years at Bethel, Bernice was united with Friends Church in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. She was actively involved with her church through various ministries. Her last commitment to service at Friends, was with a “quilting” group, preparing to donate quilts for a mission trip to Jamaica.
As a youngster, Bernice played the piano. During high school, she played the clarinet, participated in student council and drama club.
After graduating high school, Bernice was granted a scholarship to attend Mississippi Valley State University (M. V.S.U.). She was presented an award of Merit for Outstanding Contributions to the Core Curricular Program of the College through The Jacob Aron Student Union Advisory Committee. In 1962, she graduated (Cum Laude) from Mississippi Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education.
While at M.V.S.U., Bernice met John L. Sanders and they were united in marriage Oct. 7, 1964. A year later, they relocated to Cleveland. To this union, God blessed them with Efrem and Ursula.
Three months after graduation, her teaching career started in Rosedale, Miss. In 1965, Bernice began her teaching career with the Cleveland Public School System which included Glenville High School, John Adams High School, and Central Junior High. While teaching at Central, in one year, she acquired the 14 credits required to teach data processing and computer science.
In 1984, Bernice began teaching, where she would end 37 years of her public school teaching career, Jane Adams, considered by many, “The Country Club of Cleveland Schools!” During her tenure at Jane Adams, for 30 years, she was Chapter and Club Advisor for Business Professionals of America, a National Youth Organization for Office and Business Education Students. Many of those years, students competed at the regional, state and national level. She was also recognized from the Ohio Department of Education for 20 Years of Outstanding service, received the Cleveland Rotary Club’s Outstanding Educator Award, Teacher of the month, Inducted into “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers -2002 Edition (top 5% of teachers), Certified Master Teacher, Lead teacher and member of Curriculum Writing Team for Applied Academics, Teachers Union Assistant Building Chairperson and Social Committee Chairperson for four years.
Bernice was inducted into the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., a member of Cleveland Teacher’s Union for Retired Teachers, Greater Cleveland Chapter of Ohio Teacher’s Association, Lake County Chapter of Ohio Teachers Association, American Federation of Teacher’s, a volunteer Computer Workshop Instructor at the Mentor Senior Center, Theatre Workshop Instructor and Assistant Director.
Bernice leaves to celebrate her life, a loving and devoted husband, John. She was a devoted mother to Efrem (Renee) and Ursula (George); grandmother to four grandchildren, E. Jonathan Sanders, E. Jeremy Sanders, Ashley Pearl Sanders and Bailey Genoa Gore; great-grandmother of Kayden David Bottiggi; Godmother of Keith Learie Allen; sister of Earnestine E. McCullum, Eloise E. Allen (Frank), and the late Edward Learie Eiland; sisters-in-law to Earnestine Eiland, and Margie Booker (Dean); aunt of Lisa R. Eiland-Johnson, Joi R. Allen Washington (Gerald), Amy L. Booker Rice (Brandon), Marcus K. McCullum (Jennifer), Keith Learie Allen (Maria). She also leaves four grandnieces, Kylan Ashley Cottrell (Cory), Mercedes Coleman, Enya McCullum, Genoa Grace Washington; two grandnephews, Jesse Coleman III, David McCullum; one great-grandnephew, Jayden Michael Learie Cottrell; four aunts, Ruth Eiland, Gracie Richardson, Sarah B. Eiland, Oradee Eiland; and other loving relatives and cherished friends.
Family will receive friends from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at McMahon-Coyne-Vitantonio Funeral Home, 6330 Center St. (Route 615, north of Route 2), Mentor.
Funeral services will be held 10 a.m. Saturday at Willoughby Hills Evangelical Friends Church, 2846 SOM Center Road, Willoughby Hills. (Family and friends are asked to please meet at church.) Entombment will be private.
To leave condolences for the family, order flowers or light a memorial candle, visit www.MCVfuneralhomes.com.