Bernice Kauper Cross was born November 14, 1937, to Ferdinand and Thecla (Buettner) Kauper in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She passed away earlier Sunday Morning, September 17, 2023, at Mercy Hospital Kingfisher.
Bernice was raised on the family farm east of Kingfisher on Hwy 33. She was raised with her 3 cousins, whose mother (Bertha, Thecla’s sister) had died in childbirth, like siblings. They were Theresa (Kauper) Lietzke, Marie (Kauper) Endres and Eddie Kauper. She graduated from the Big Four Schools. One of her favorite childhood memories was telling her kids about when the Gypsies would come by the house and camp between their house and the Garrett house and of Grandma Thecie making homemade cinnamon rolls every Saturday, noodles, and cottage cheese along with sewing tons of clothes.
Bernice worked at T,G and Y after she graduated. She loved to dance, and it was at a Dover Roller Rink Dance that she met the love of her life, Floyd Cross. She laughed at him when they met, and he told her he was going to marry her. They were married 50 years before Floyd passed on October 4, 2016. Three children came from this union: Ferd, Shawn and Sherrie. She loved her family and everything they were involved in from coyote hunting with greyhounds with Floyd’s brother Jack and the bunch from Loyal, to the kids and FFA and showing cattle and sheep and going to their basketball games. After the kids were in school, she worked part time with Eddie at Eddie’s Floral Shop where she learned how to do floral design.
Floyd instilled a love of rodeo in Bernice and all three of the kids. She was “easy to load” but never ask her to hold your horse. She thought they were pretty to look at but that is close enough. Bernice and Floyd went with Ferd during his high school rodeo days and Shawn and Sherrie during their PRCA rodeo careers.
She loved having her kids and their friends around the house and would go dancing with all of them. She was lovingly called Mom by several of her adopted kids including – Kenneth Newer, Dennis and Marsha Rempe, Jeff and Scott Benda, Richard Reynolds, and several others. She also had a rodeo family which was mostly Sherrie’s “adopted” kids and friends including the Rumford Rodeo Crew, Reijan Amason Price, and several others. Sherrie’s “adopted” son Justin Rumford was her favorite and she loved watching him on TV until the end. She could recognize him just by his voice.
Bernice was a cradle to the grave Catholic. She played the organ for the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church and was Choir leader for a time before her children came around. She was remembered by her being the last to get communion and hearing her high heels clicking on the floor as she walked down the side aisle and back upstairs. She laughingly always told Sherrie she would come back and haunt her if she didn’t have a Catholic Mass Funeral. She knew Sherrie hated funerals and she would have a graveside service for her. We will see about the haunting later.
In late July 2023, Bernice was diagnosed with cancer in her jawbone and under her tongue which affected the way she swallowed and her nutritional intake. In late August, she fell and broke her hip and had a rod, bolts and screws put in. Her hope was to be able to come back home but God had other plans for her. She said she would never go to a nursing home, and she passed away before that had to happen.
She is survived by her children: sons Ferd of Kingfisher and Shawn (Natalee) of Harrah and daughter Sherrie of Kingfisher. Grandchildren Lauren (Blaine) Grabow of Loyal, Dakota (Nicholas) Brown of Harrah, Kaitlyn (Hunter) Washburn of Jones, OK and Jay Cross of Harrah, OK; Great Grandchildren Lasi, Lathyn and Owen Grabow of Loyal; Brantley, Elaina, and Laeklyn Brown of Harrah; and Reylynn and Hazen Washburn of Jones and several nephews, nieces, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Floyd; her parents, Ferdinand, and Thecla Kauper; cousins Theresa (John) Lietzke; Marie (George) Endres and Eddie Kauper; Brother-in-laws Jack (Thelma) Cross; Clifford (Betty) Cross and sister-in-law Betty Jo (Delbert) Yoder.
A graveside service will be held at Kingfisher Cemetery Friday, September 22, 2023 at 11:00 am under the direction of Sanders Funeral Service.
Memorials are requested in her memory to Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) or the Lomega Educational Academic Foundation (LEAF).