Date of Birth
Date of Death
Bernice Newton-Gass, age 97, of Rockford, formerly of Elburn, passed away in the early morning hours of Friday, March 24, 2017 at River Bluff Nursing Home, Rockford, after a lengthy illness.
She was born on November 2, 1919, in Roland, IA, the daughter of Benherd and Tella (Nelson) Solyst.
Bernice grew up in Roland and attended local schools. She graduated from Roland High School with the class 1937 before continuing her education at Northern Illinois State Teachers College, now N.I.U. She graduated in 1939 and was hired, even before receiving her diploma, by Elburn Elementary School where she helped shaped the minds of generations of students until her “retirement” in 1979. Bernice became very involved with the Kane County Retired Teachers Association, was on the Town and Country Library Board of Directors and later she co-taught preschool in Elburn Countryside Community Center before retiring for good in 1993.
During WWII, Bernice became a draftswoman and crafted blueprints for the war effort at Barber-Greene in Aurora.
Arnold C. Newton swept her off her feet and married her January 24, 1948 in Elburn. They began their new life in Aurora for a time before moving to Elburn to live with Arnoldâ€™s father in Elburn in 1952. They lived life to the fullest until Arnolds passing in 1974. Bernice married Henry “Hank” Gass on her birthday, November 2, 1984. They lived happily ever after in Elburn until Hank passed on May 10, 2011. She eventually came into the care of River Bluff Nursing Home, Rockford, IL, when her health began to decline.
Bernice was once a member of the Quivera Club and the Elburn Community Congregational Church where she also taught Sunday School.
After retiring from teaching, Bernice learned how to swim and golf because sitting idle was not her strong suit. She did Norwegian flower painting of designs, but tended to the real thing in her garden as well. She knew her way around the kitchen and could whip up some amazing cakes, coffee cakes, and a bevy of other sweet treats for her family to enjoy.
She is survived by one son, Stephen (Joanne) Newton; four grandchildren: Julie Newton, Bill (Keara) Newton, Dr. Timothy Newton and Andrew (Kyla) Newton; two great-granddaughters: Emily and Tessa Newton; many nieces, nephews, cousins a nd a family of friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents; two husbands, Arnold Newton and Henry Gass; one brother, Reuben; four sisters: Florence, Elaine, Mattie and Julia.
Visitation will be from 5:30-6:30 p.m. with a funeral to celebrate her life to begin at 7 p.m., Monday, April 3, 2017, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. Interment will follow Tuesday morning, April 4, at 10 a.m. at the Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Berniceâ€™s name. Checks may be made to the “Bernice Gass Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com , where you can find her full life story.
A funeral service to celebrate her life will be Monday, April 3, 2017 at the Conley Funeral Home.
Visitation will be from 5:30-6:30pm, Monday, April 3, 2017 at the Conley Funeral Home.
Burial will be Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 10:00am at Blackberry Township Cemetery in Elburn.