Bernice Flanagan, 84, of Edinburg, passed away on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, at Lutheran Sunset Home in Grafton.
Bernice Oline Rike was born July 29, 1937, daughter of the late Olav and Thora (Steinley) Rike. Her father passed away when she was in her teens. In 1958, Thora re-married the late Raymond Holm. Bernice attended and graduated from Gardar High School in 1955. She attended Mayville State Teachers College and obtained her teaching certificate in 1956 and her standard degree in 1960.
Bernice married James ( Jim) W. Flanagan on June 30, 1957, in Edinburg. The couple made their home in Nash until 1982, when Jim unexpectedly passed away. Since they were living in a home owned by Jim’s employer, Nash Grain and Trading Company, a move had to be made. In December 1982, Bernice moved to Edinburg where she remained until June 2021 when she moved to Lutheran Sunset Home.
To say Bernice was a busy lady would be an understatement. She started working when she was eight years old and worked until she was 84. Her work life included World Book Encyclopedia where she was an area manager and then a district manager for 33 years. She was apparently very good at this job, as today her sons hear stories from people saying, “Here comes the World Book Lady, get out the checkbook.” During this same time, she also worked other jobs including: teaching at Nash School (her teaching instinct stayed with her even after she stopped teaching at the school, she would correct anyone that used incorrect grammar), switchboard operator at the Developmental Center in Grafton (mostly nights and weekends), postmaster at the Nash Post Office and a cook at the Park River Bible Camp for retreats. She also was an entrepreneur and started a catering business and hosted parties in her name, which she called Flanagan’s Fancy. Of course her most memorable job (but she never called it work) was being the owner and operator of the Edinburg General St o re, the Biggest Little General Store in North Dakota, from 1993 to 2021. Since the above things weren’t keeping her busy enough, she authored her own autobiography, On Golden Wings, which she had published and sold at her store. Bernice’s passing on Labor Day seems very appropriate, as she was a lady that labored her whole life.
Bernice was very active in numerous organizations, some of which include: Edinburg Business Club, Rendezvous Region Bird Club, Double M Homemakers, WELCA Grafton Conference, Zion Lutheran Church, Park River Bible Camp, Farmington Township and Walsh County Historical Society. Bernice was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and served on the church council.
Bernice is survived by her children: James Flanagan, Otsego, Minnesota, Joseph Flanagan, Maple Grove, Minnesota; grandchildren: Brandon Flanagan and Krista (Austin) Rudnick; great-grandchildren: Bradley Flanagan and Layla Rudnick; siblings: Oliver “Sonny” (Mary Ann) Rike, Judy Evens and Pauli Rike; as well as an extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim; an infant child; parents; sister, Donna; infant brother, David; brother-in-law, Morris Evens; and daughter-in-law, Nikki Flanagan.
Funeral services will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, Edinburg, on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 10:30. a.m. A prayer service will be held Friday evening from 5-7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church. Interment will be at the Zion Lutheran Cemetery of rural Hoople.
The family requests memorials to Park River Bible Camp or a charity of your choice, in Bernice’s memory.
An online guestbook is available at www.tollefsonfuneralhome.com.
Tollefson Funeral Home of Grafton is in charge of arrangements.