Bernice Montgomery

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- Bernice Bernadine Montgomery, proud wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and longstanding businesswoman in Southeast Missouri, died at the age of 99 years Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009, at Saint Francis Medical Center with her family by her side.

Bernice was born in Puxico, Mo., on March 13, 1910, daughter of the late Dona Moxley and Charles (Charlie) Horstman. She and Paul C. Montgomery were married May 13, 1931. He preceded her in death July 26, 1973.

Bernice moved to Chaffee in 1917 and graduated from Chaffee High School in 1927. Her father purchased the Chaffee Pullman Theater in 1921, and Bernice got her first introduction to the theater business by selling movie tickets (for 10 cents) at age 11. She took over the family business, which was renamed the Horstman Theater in 1931, until it closed in the early 1960s.

She and her husband, Paul, opened the Montgomery Drive Inn at Blomeyer, Mo., in 1955 and owned and managed it together until it closed in 1971.

Bernice took great pride in being a businesswoman, and the relationships she built through the theater business were a big part of her life.

Bernice loved to dance. She competed and received over 40 trophies in ballroom dance competitions until she was in her 80s. She also loved to travel and visited most of the 50 states, over 20 countries and had been on 10 cruises.

She loved to shop, cook for her family (and made the best corn bread ever), follow Cardinal baseball games and the color red. Most of all she loved spending time with her family. Bernice was at her best with her family, and they will carry Bernice's advice, lessons and love for them through time.

Bernice was a member of First United Methodist Church and a past worthy matron of the Order of Eastern Star Chaffee Chapter 48.

She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend who had a wonderful sense of humor that will be missed by all of her family and friends.

Bernice is survived by two sons and daughters-in law, Morris Charles and Betty Montgomery of Chaffee, Paul David and Gay Montgomery of Cabot, Ark.; seven grandchildren, Jeanette Montgomery Wachter and husband Scott of Chaffee, Monty Montgomery and wife Missy of Cape Girardeau, Chris Montgomery of Chaffee, Tracey Steele and husband Jim of Columbia, Mo., Beth Lowry of Henderson, Nev., Paul Lowry and wife Jeri of Columbia and Paula Montgomery and fiance Michael of Cabot.

Also 15 great-grandchildren, Zachary Wachter, Charlie Montgomery, Peyton Montgomery, Jessica Carroll, Aubrey Reed, David Austin Reed, Anna Steele, Taylor Steele, Emma Steele, Chris Geringer, Jackson Geringer, Isabel Mendez, Elianna Mendez, Jude Donoho-Lowry and Cale Childers.

She was preceded in death by an infant brother, Glen Horstman.

The family wishes to invite friends to honor her life after 4 p.m. Wednesday at Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel.

The funeral will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at the chapel, with Pastor Marty Blakey officiating. Burial will be in Cape County Memorial Park in Cape Girardeau.

Memorial contributions may be made to Chaffee Public School Foundation.