Berniece Lucille Hayenga

Posted 11/29/21

Berniece Lucille Hayenga, 101, passed away Saturday Nov. 27 while surrounded by her family at Manor Court, Liberty Village of Rochelle.

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Berniece Lucille Hayenga


ROCHELLE — Berniece Lucille Hayenga, 101, passed away Saturday Nov. 27 while surrounded by her family at Manor Court, Liberty Village of Rochelle.

She had been a resident there since last May. Berniece was born on Jan. 30, 1920 to Rena (Brink) and Warner Bruns on a farm north of Kings. After dating for five years, she married Harm Alderks Hayenga on March 30, 1941 at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. They farmed together for 48 years until Harm’s death in 1989. She continued to help her sons, Roger and Rodney with the farming until she was 97 years old. After that, her tractor driving was reduced to mowing her farm-yard lawn which she did until she was 100 years old.

As a youngster, she helped her father Warner and brother Maynard Bruns farm with horse drawn equipment before the tractors were bought. Berniece lost her mother when she was 15. She used the skills her mother taught her in the domestic care of a home in order to help her father and brother. At the age of 18 she lived with other families as domestic help before she moved to Rockford to work downtown in the Kress dime store. She continued working there after her marriage for a few months.

Preceded in death by her parents and brother, Berniece is survived by her children, Roger (Carol) Hayenga, Rodney (Cyndy) Hayenga and Dawn (Joe) Somers. Her grandchildren include Tricia Mueller, Dana (Joe) Meyers, Micah Somers, Trenton Somers, Nick (Brittany) Somers, Bethany Hayenga and Jeff Hayenga, nine great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A member of the Elim Reformed Church at Kings, Berniece actively participated in many of the church activities serving in the different offices of Ladies Aid and other committees. She taught Sunday School for many years achieving perfect attendance for over 20 years. As her children were growing up, she took on leadership roles in their 4-H clubs as well as their Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts Troops. She was a member of the local Home Extension group for years where she shared her love of creating handmade crafts She excelled in leather carving and stain glass work, giving away many of her creations. Her Sunday School students were awarded a hand-carved leather wallet when they completed their memory verses for a couple of years. She spent many years demonstrating and teaching the art of spinning wool to local school classrooms. A natural born teacher, she gave freely of her time to instruct students in arts, crafts, cooking, sewing, gardening and all kinds of skills they could use in life.

Visitation will be held at the Unger-Horner Funeral Home in Rochelle, Illinois, Tuesday, Nov. 30th, from 5-7 p.m.  Funeral service will be at 2 p.m. at the Elim Reformed Church in Kings on Wednesday, Dec. 1. with Rev. Marvin Jacobs presiding. Interment will be at White Rock Cemetery following the service. Memorials can be directed to the Elim Reform Church or Serenity Hospice and Home. Please visit to sign an online guestbook.