Our beloved mother and “Gran”, Bernice Marion Keyser, passed away on the evening of December 4, 2013, at Fredericksburg Nursing and Rehab at the age of 88 years. Bernice was born on the Stehling family farm in Gillespie County to Adolph and Louise Hohmann Stehling on November 24, 1925. She was raised there along with her sister Irene. Bernice loved the outdoors and all aspects of country life, especially the animals. She attended school at the Klein-Frankreich country school and St. Mary’s. She and Irene stayed with Grandmother Stehling and Aunt Rose in Fredericksburg during the week when they attended St. Mary’s for their Holy Communion and Confirmation years. Later on, the family moved to Fredericksburg. Bernice was employed at Schnelle’s and Fredericksburg Hospital and Clinic.
She met Henry William Keyser, Jr. and they married on April 26, 1949 at St. Mary’s. After a honeymoon through the southwest to California, they lived and ranched on the Henry C. Keyser homestead, which was then the Henry L. Keyser ranch. They continued to live there throughout their married life until Bernice moved to Windcrest Nursing Home in January of 2010 and then to Fredericksburg Nursing and Rehab in June of that year. Bernice was involved in all aspects of ranch life. She was the ultimate homemaker, always meticulously caring for family and home. Even though she probably preferred the outdoors, she kept an immaculate house and was always busy in the kitchen. She baked, preserved produce from her garden, and kept everything mended and ironed. She was from the generation that even ironed the pillowcases! She loved keeping her lawn and flowers in top shape, going so far as to trim the sidewalks with sheep shearing scissors when an edger didn’t do the job. Her large garden was always full of all kinds of vegetables, and she made the absolute “best pickles,” with each jar perfectly filled. In addition, she helped Jr. with the livestock, from feeding to working in the pens alongside him until they both could no longer do that. She raised many orphaned calves, lambs, and goat kids. When Jr. went hunting to Colorado or south Texas, she kept the ranch going. She enjoyed hunting in her younger years until she just could not kill the beautiful deer that she fed in the evenings. She enjoyed the ladies’ bridge club with her country friends that met monthly. Annual, and later on, semi-annual trips to Colorado were a source of great pleasure to Bernice and Jr. Trips to San Angelo to visit the kids, and especially the grandsons, were taken on a regular basis. Bernice was a doting grandmother and she loved spending time with the boys. She always had a card or special gift for them for every holiday.
Bernice was preceded in death by her parents, Adolph and Louise Stehling, and her husband, Henry W. Keyser, Jr. She is survived by her daughter, Colleen Waltisperger and husband Doug; her son, Kevin Keyser and wife Marilyn; her sister Irene, Mrs. Douglas Keller; grandsons Wade Waltisperger and wife Melissa, Kyle Waltisperger and wife Deanna; great-grandchildren Kinley Waltisperger, Hope Waltisperger, and Billy Getzendaner. Also surviving her is a special niece, Karla Keller Burg and her family. Karla was her hairdresser for 40 years, and always included Aunt Bernice and Uncle Jr. at her family gatherings. Kenneth Keller, a special nephew and godson, spent time every summer at the ranch when he was a young boy.
A special thank you is extended to the nurses and staff of Fredericksburg Nursing and Rehab who cared for Bernice for the last three and a half years of her life and also cared for Henry for the last year and a half of his life, and to Hill Country Memorial Hospice for being there during both of their last days. Thanks also to Dr. Jason Peet and Dr. Christa O’Leary for their care.
Visitation was from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 8th at Schaetter’s Funeral Home. A vigil and rosary, led by Deacon Pat Klein, began at 6 p.m. On Monday, December 9, at 2:00 p.m., a mass of resurrection was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with the Msgr. Enda McKenna officiating. Graveside services and interment followed in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. Pall bearers were Wade Waltisperger, Kyle Waltisperger, Kenneth Keller, Dylan Burg, Mark Stehling, and Nick Stehling.
Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Hill Country Memorial Hospice, or to the charity of your choice.