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Bernice Frisby

Bernice Ann Frisby

Friday, April 25th, 1919 - Sunday, October 25th, 2020
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Bernice Ann Frisby
(April 25, 1919 – October 25, 2020)

Bernice Ann Infeld Frisby, age 101 years, passed away peacefully in American Fork, Utah on Sunday, October 25, 2020. Bernice, the oldest of 6 children, was born on April 25, 1919 to Samuel Walker Infeld and Barbara Agnes Lala Infeld at her family home near Fordville, North Dakota.

Bernice grew up on the family farm and attended elementary school through high school in Fordville. She graduated from high school in 1938 after staying home for one year to care for her ailing mother and a new baby sister. As a child, she was curious about everything around her and loved to explore new things; a trait she carried into her adult years and throughout her life. When she had barely learned to walk, she managed to escape her mother’s watchful eye and toddled out into the pasture. When her mother looked out the kitchen window and saw Bernice sitting directly under the milk cow’s belly happily playing, she was horrified! Not wanting to startle the cow but also wanting to get Bernice out of danger, she carefully walked over to the cow and retrieved Bernice unharmed. When the winter snows got too deep for the school bus to pick up Bernice and her siblings for school, her father would hitch the horses to their sleigh and off they would go for a sleigh ride to school. After Bernice graduated from high school, she worked as a nanny and then when her aunt was going to visit California, she invited Bernice to go. After consulting with her parents and realizing it was an opportunity this farm girl may not get again, off she went on an adventure in Glendale, California. One of the first things she did is to start looking for a job. She got employment as a waitress in a Chicken Pie restaurant and while there, she caught the eye of a young aerospace employee who worked nearby. This young man, Don Frisby, invited Bernice to attend his company’s Halloween party. With some trepidation, she accepted and their romance began, culminating in them being married just 2 months later on December 28, 1939 in Salt Lake City, Utah, near where Don was raised.

Don and Bernice enjoyed many adventures together as they explored new things and new places. They loved camping and trout fishing in the rivers of northern California. They would hold a fish fry at their camp inviting other campers they had befriended. When they had caught their limit, they would can the fish at the campsite so they could catch more. They tried their hand at prospecting for uranium in the Mojave Desert and had a great time but never hit the mother lode. Don had learned to fly while attending Parks Air College and so he and Bernice bought their first airplane, a Cessna 140. After getting off work on Friday afternoon, they would often make a weekend visit to Don’s parents in Provo, Utah or Bernice’s parents in North Dakota. One adventure Bernice tells about is when they had to make a forced landing during a snow storm on their way to North Dakota. It wasn’t a smooth landing with some damage to the landing gear but they were safe. Don, also a licensed airplane mechanic, was able to secure the parts and made repairs so they could continue their trip. They flew so much that their friends started calling them “The Flying Frisbys”. They later bought a larger plane, the Bonanza, because Don said they needed more room for Bernice’s shoes. Bernice was always a stylish dresser.

Bernice loved cars and car racing. While she and Don were at the airport preparing for a flight, a friend drove up in his brand new 1955 Ford Thunderbird. He gave Bernice a ride. She immediately fell in love with this little sports car and began saving money to buy one. She saved enough money quickly but decided a sedan was more practical and bought a Buick Roadster instead. Later, Don bought Bernice a used 1955 Ford Thunderbird which she loved! They took many trips with the new friends they made in the T-Bird Club. Bernice kept this car until she could no longer drive, selling it in 2017.

Bernice and Don began married life in Glendale, California and in 1940 moved San Diego. In 1957 they moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida and then to Lompoc, California in 1959 where they lived for many happy years. Don continued to work in the Aerospace industry and Bernice worked as an executive secretary for The Boeing Company. It was in Lompoc where Bernice embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on May 8, 1994. She and Don were sealed as husband and wife for time and eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Dec 27, 2008.

As Don’s health declined, Bernice took loving care of him until his death in December 2006. After 67 years of marriage, Bernice continued life’s adventures alone. She loved to visit family in San Diego. She and her sister, LaVerne, did family history research on both her line and her husband’s line seeking out ancestors and their histories filling many volumes with the results of their research. Each Christmas for many years they made hundreds of potholders to raise money for charity. When Bernice was nearly 90 years old, she could be found sledding down the snow-covered slopes with her “adopted” grandchildren in Utah Valley or driving a dune buggy through the desert of Arizona. At 93 she was riding four-wheel ATVs in the beautiful foothills of Lompoc, California. She loved nature and the beauties of God’s creations and was always eager for an adventure in the great outdoors. Yes, Bernice had a full life of joy and adventure and faith in God.

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Donald (Don) Frisby, her parents and her siblings, Dorothy Kilmartin, LaVerne Miller, Robert Infeld, Allan Infeld and Shirley Birkelo. She is survived by nieces and nephews.

Bernice will be buried next to Don in the Provo Utah Cemetery following a graveside service on November 5, 2020 at 11:00 AM.

Note: This obituary was updated on 11/16/2020 to correct a few minor errors and add information on a memorial service which was held in Lompoc, California, on November 14, 2020.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Thursday, November 5th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Thursday, November 5th, 2020 11:00am
    Provo City Cemetery
    610 S. State Street
    Provo, Utah
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Private Condolence

Shirley Shannon

Posted at 11:14pm
Bernice and I became acquainted when my husband Mike was assigned to home teach she and her husband Don. After Don passed away, Bernice was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1994. It was at this time that she became my Visiting Teaching partner. There were 21 years between our ages, but we became the best of friends. We remained close until circumstances caused my husband and I to move to Utah.
Each time I would make a trip to California to visit with my children it gave me the opportunity to connect with Bernice. We used to meet for lunch or dinner. I remember one time she wanted to pick me up and drive us both to a restaurant in Lompoc. It had been a while since I had been a passenger in her car. I was sure that we weren’t going to make it. It was raining cats and dogs and I couldn’t see a thing. She missed our turn to the restaurant, but we spun around and finally made it to our destination. As Bernice enjoyed her dinner of liver and onions, I stewed over how we were going to make it home safely. Luckily, it stopped raining and we made it home safely.
I love Bernice and have missed her these past years as she started to slip away. I am happy that she is having a joyous reunion with her husband and each of her siblings.
Shirley Shannon

Mike Martin

Posted at 10:14pm
I first met Bernice and Don shortly after moving to Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, in 1989. As our friendship developed, my wife and I soon learned what wonderful people they were. We also learned of Bernice’s “can do anything” attitude. Don, who had always been able to build or fix anything, lost that ability as he aged into his 90’s. So, Bernice took over. I remember I got a phone call from Don asking me to come over and help Bernice fix the faucet in the kitchen sink. When I arrived, Bernice was sitting on the kitchen countertop with both feet in the sink changing out the cartridge in the kitchen faucet. She was nearly finished and after installing the handle it worked flawlessly. On another occasion, she needed something out of the attic so got the A-frame ladder out of the garage, placed it in the hallway below the access hole into the attic and climbed up clear into the attic. Don, whose hearing and memory had both declined significantly, saw the ladder in the middle of the hallway and moved it over so he could get by. When Bernice was ready to climb down, she found the ladder had been moved. She called as loud as she could but Don couldn’t hear. Not having any other choice, she lowered herself down to where she was hanging by her elbows, swung her foot over and hooked the ladder dragging back to where she could climb down. When she told me about it and I said she should have called me to get whatever she wanted out of the attic, her reply was something like, “Why? There is no reason I couldn’t do it.” So, it was no surprise to me when Bernice and I were debating who got to pay for dinner before going to one of her favorite restaurants in San Diego and I said, “I’ll arm wrestle you for it”, she readily agreed. I won but she put up a good fight. That’s her sister, LaVerne, laughing in the background.

Josh Machovsky

Posted at 09:28pm
I first came into contact with Bernice and her sister, LaVerne, in 2009 while working on common Czech ancestral lines. What followed was a friendship that lasted for some time: we not only got to know about dead relatives, but about one another as well. This included hobbies, education, etc. They both seemed to be such goers: always on the move, and both seemed to be such happy individuals whenever I was in contact with them via e-mail and over the phone. Got a Christmas card a time or two. I felt bad after losing touch with Bernice following LaVerne's passing, and was so sorry to hear that she herself had died. I have no doubt that their reunion (and Bernice's reunion with the rest of her loved ones), is a joyous one. Rest in peace cousin Bernice; you will never be forgotten.

Josh Machovsky

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