Juanita Bernice Koonce


MENDOTA - Juanita Bernice Koonce, 91, of Mendota passed away surrounded by her family on Nov. 7, 2020 in OSF St. Anthony's Medical Center, Rockford.

A public visitation will be Friday, Nov. 13 from 5-8 pm at United Pentecostal Church, Mendota. Private services for family and UPC of Mendota church family will be Saturday, Nov. 14 at 11 am at the church with Rev. Charles Yeakel officiating and additional affirmations from Rev. Wendell Maynard and Rev. Lloyd Dunaway. Burial will follow at Restland Cemetery, Mendota. COVID-19 restrictions will be observed; masks and social distancing required. Wasmer Funeral Home is privileged to be assisting the family.

Pallbearers will be David Koonce, Tony Koonce, Brad Koonce, Matthew Trembly, Nathan Trembly, Rob Hult, Aaron Giglietti, Eric Himebaugh, AJ Ortega, Nicholas Otto, Joshua Edwards, and Austin Frutiger.

Bernice was born March 10, 1929 in Vandalia to Joseph Henry and Mildred Juanita (Keppler) Spicer. She married Harold L. Koonce on Nov. 20, 1948 in Vandalia.

Survivors include her husband, Rev. Harold of Mendota; two daughters, Devra (Rev. Charles) Yeakel of Mendota and Jana (James) Trembly of Mendota; three sons, Danny (Vicki) Koonce of Brownstown, Michael (Kay) Koonce of Vandalia, and Rev. Timothy (Polly Ann) Koonce of Wapella; 13 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by one sister, Norma Jean Keeling; a brother in infancy, Billie Jo; and a daughter-in-law, Janet Koonce.

Bernice graduated from Vandalia Community High School in 1947. She and Harold began their ministry in the small town of Mulberry Grove in 1966. They started their first church there, and remained for 11 years. In 1977, they moved to Mendota where they fostered and flourished the UPC church family until 2003. Though the retirement began in 2003, they remained part of the church faithful and participated in all facets of the church. Bernice was involved in the Women With a Purpose group of UPC. She loved to cook, bake, crochet, sew and read. She was the Manager of “Hotel Koonce,” handling the revolving door of friends and family with joy and grace. She lived by example and was a true icon of the UPC community. Bernice loved her large extended family, along with her husband, and serving her Lord and Savior; these were the greatest joys of her life.

Memorials may be directed to the family.

Condolences may be left at wasmerfuneral.com.