Bernice Lorenia Johnson Montgomery was born on February 17, 1925 to Edward LeVert Johnson and Carrie Elnora Elliott Johnson. Although she was actually born in Huntsville, Alabama, she came to Cleveland, Ohio with her parents when she was just seven weeks old. She always considered herself a Clevelander. Bernice was one of two children. Her brother, Edward LeVert Johnson, preceded her in death.
During her formative years, Bernice attended Cleveland Public Schools and was a graduate of Glenville High School. While attending Glenville, Bernice struggled with math and needed to have a tutor. That math tutor was a handsome, young upper-classman named Pleasant Montgomery, Jr. Pleasant eventually became her high school sweetheart. Then, on December 2, 1943, during a "three day pass" from the army, he became her husband. Bernice and Pleasant were blessed to have enjoyed love and companionship for over sixty-five years. To this union was born one daughter, Patricia Louise Montgomery Jackson.
During her working years, Bernice worked as a librarian in the Cleveland Public Library (Main Branch), as well as in the libraries of several Cleveland public schools.
As a young woman, Bernice was a member of St. John's A.M.E. Church. Deeply spiritual, she felt that her spiritual journey was not yet complete and she prayed and continued to search for the answer to the stirring in her heart. Her prayer was answered when she met Lydia Martin and Dr. Sarah Pereira and was introduced to the Baha'i Faith. Bernice knew, in her heart, that the Baha'i Faith was what she had been searching for and she became a Baha'i in 1947.
During the next 68 years, Bernice, along with Pleasant (who became a Baha'i in 1956) actively served the Baha'i community on Local Spiritual Assemblies and committees in both Cleveland and Warrensville Hts. They also presented information about the Baha'i faith on television and radio shows. Bernice taught an introductory class on the Baha'i Faith at Cuyahoga Community College (Eastern Campus) and participated in the Northeast Ohio Baha'i Choir. She had a beautiful mezzo soprano voice and frequently sang "From the Sweet Scented Streams", a prayer by Baha'u'llah (the Prophet Founder of the Baha'i Faith) set to music.
Bernice also participated in numerous teaching events, including Firesides and Warrensville Heights public events (such as floats in parades). She loved her family and loved the Baha'i Faith.
Celebrating her ninety years of life are her daughter, Patricia, her granddaughter, Leslie Nicole Jackson-Roston, her grandson, Rasool "Monty" Montgomery Jackson, great grandson, Taryn Alexander Roston and a host of family and friends.
Bernice J. Montgomery (nee Johnson), age 90 of Warrensville Heights, OH. Beloved wife of the late Pleasant Montgomery; loving mother of Patricia M. Jackson of Cleveland Heights, OH; dear grandmother of Leslie N. Roston of Hilliard, OH and Rasool "Monty" Jackson of Cleveland Heights, OH; great-grandmother of Taryn Roston of Hilliard, OH. Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, March 17 at 10 am at Brown-Forward, 17022 Chagrin Blvd, Shaker Heights, OH. FRIENDS MAY CALL ONE HALF HOUR PRIOR TO THE SERVICE.
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