SEAL HARBOR – Bernice “Bunny” Ward Pierce, 98, longtime Seal Harbor and Town of Mount Desert resident, died Aug. 25, 2013, in Bar Harbor. She was born June 19, 1915, in Charlotte, the daughter of Oscar and Jennie (Lowe) Ward.
Before residing at Sonogee Residential Center in Bar Harbor for the last seven years, she was an active member of the Maple Lane Apartment community where she was a member of the Residents Committee and took pride in making the resident living environment the best it could be. Bunny came to Mount Desert Island when she was around 21 years old and shortly thereafter met Yale Pierce on a blind date during the summer of 1937. They were married within the year and she, Yale, and Yale’s mother, Bertha, lived together at the old Pierce Homestead. They lived in the house Yale’s father, Walden, built in the late 1800s on the land that was settled two generations before him by Yale’s great-grandfather, Thomas Pierce, who settled on a large tract of land that extended all the way to Pierce Head. Bunny took care of the inside and Yale took care of the outside of the Pierce Homestead. They worked constantly together painting, papering, introducing electricity, refrigeration, indoor plumbing and baseboard heating. They enjoyed the Boston Red Sox and Celtics games together and until her last days she was an avid fan of both teams. Bunny maintained the property on her own until she moved to the Maple Lane Apartments in 1981.
For many years after Yale passed away in 1968 she quietly served friends and neighbors in the community, making those around her enjoy a better life. Early in her marriage she worked summers in a variety of different roles, such as laundress, housekeeper, cook, seamstress, chambermaid, caretaker, and as a second mother to her nephews, Henry Elden and Jay Donald Scribner.
Her capacity to organize, get things done, and carry on an active social life in her community was, indeed, remarkable. She enjoyed playing bridge with a women’s group, defeating anyone with whom she could get to play a cribbage game, and she was active at the Seal Harbor Neighborhood House and Library. When Seal Harbor had a bowling alley below the Lighthouse Restaurant she was regularly recognized as a local champion of the weekly bowling matches. Bunny was fond of spending the cold Maine winters knitting, doing needlework and related crafts. When family and friends arrived for the summer months, she enjoyed cooking, baking delicious pies and joining in the fun of family gatherings. Friends and relatives who visited during the summer came from across Mount Desert Island, the State of Maine, other parts of the country and from abroad. Everyone knew her as a person with a sharp mind, a quick-wit, and a heart full of gratitude and love.
In 1941, Bernice’s mother, Jennie Lowe Ward, passed away on her parents’ small farm in Charlotte. Her father, Oscar Ward, who she nursed during a long illness, died in Seal Harbor at the time of the 1947 Mount Desert Island fire. She was the last of four siblings and three stepsisters.
She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews, including Jay D. and Alicia Scribner of Texas, Robert and Shirley Damon of Maine, Henry’s widow, Rose Scribner of Maine, Shirley Swanson of Connecticut, Dot Bohanan of Maine, Roberta and Jim Morrow of Idaho, Kenneth and Linda Ward of Maine, Linda and Carl Bodo of Florida, Sheryal and Ralph Atkins of Arizona, Joan and Edward Parker of Alabama, and numerous other nieces and nephews. Many great-nephews, great-nieces, great-great-nephews and great-great-nieces knew her as the matriarch of the family — Jay and Alicia’s children, Jay P. and sons, Pierce and Bo, wife, Karen, and sons, Peyton and Carson; Kent, wife, Juanita, and children, JD and Jacquelyn; Samantha Scribner; and Connie and Ryan Shultz and children, Sophia, Harper and Everett; and Henry and Rose’s children, Dawn, Debbie, Shawn (deceased), Todd and all their children.
She was predeceased by half sisters, Clara Hersey Damon, Mildred Morrison Vining and Inez Morrison Light; and her siblings, Donald Ward, Dorothy Ward Scribner, Amy Ward Waltz and Kenneth Ward.
Family and friends who made the annual trip to Seal Harbor will miss Bunny. Her circle of friends extended around the world. The family wishes to acknowledge the many acts of kindness shown to Bunny during her last days. Much gratitude is extended to the caring nursing staff and doctors at MDI Hospital, the staff at Sonogee Residential Center, Dr. Brian Caine, and to the many friends who visited, cared for and comforted Bunny and her family.
A celebration of life for Bernice will be held 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert, where friends are invited to gather for a reception following the service. Interment will be at Seal Harbor Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her name may be made to the Mount Desert Island Hospital, P.O. Box 8, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, www.mdihospital.org.
Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.