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Bernice Draper

Bernice Draper

Sept. 27, 1909 - March 7, 2007

FARIBAULT -- Bernice Dvorak Gens Draper, 97, of Faribault, died Wednesday at the Arnold Memorial Health Care Center in Adrian.

The service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the Congregational Church of Faribault, United Church of Christ. Burial will be in the Warsaw Cemetery in Warsaw.

Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Parker Kohl Funeral Home in Faribault, with an Order of Eastern Star service at 3 p.m., and for one hour prior to the service Monday at the church.

She was born Sept. 27, 1909, in Renville to James and Stella (Zima) Dvorak. She attended Renville Schools and graduated in 1927. She attended one year of teacher's training and taught in one-room country schools in Danube and Renville from 1928 to 1933. She was trained in piano through the MacPhail School of Music and taught piano lessons until well into her 90s. She worked as a dental hygienist for her uncle from 1933 to 1937 and also helped care for his children.

She married Herbert Gens in 1937, and they lived in Holloway. She returned to teaching in Danube in 1946. After studying at night and during the summers, she earned a bachelor's degree in education and music in 1951 from Mankato State University and later a master's degree. In 1963 she began working with fifth- and sixth-graders in the gifted student program in Willmar.

She married Marion Draper in the fall of 1966, and they lived in Warsaw. She began teaching in Faribault Schools in 1967 until she retired in 1975. Marion died in 1992. Bernice moved to Pleasant View Estates in Faribault in 2002 and to Pleasant Manor in 2005. She moved to Arnold Memorial Health Care Center in Adrian in October 2006.

She was a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, Lamba Chapter, the River Bend Nature Center, the Rice County Historical Society, American Association of University Women, Order of Eastern Star and the Congregational Church of Faribault.

She is survived by a son: Robert (and Jeanette) Gens of Nokomis, Fla.; a daughter: Mary (and Tim) Nealy of Adrian; a son-in-law: John Craig Sr. of Mesa, Ariz.; three stepchildren: Sue (and Bob) Jahns of Richmond, Texas, Tom (and Joyce) Draper and Jim (and Lois) Draper, all of Warsaw; 27 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren; and a brother, James (and Mary) Dvorak of Renville.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Herbert Gens and Marion Draper; twin daughters: Karen Schmoll and Karol Craig; son-in-law: Gordon Schmoll; two grandsons; and two sisters.