Bernice Jean Ymker Hempel was born on September 1, 1942 to Herman and Ziena (Kiel) Ymker on a family farm near Corsica Lake, SD.
She attended country school and later Southern College in Springfield, SD earning her two year teaching certificate. She taught country school near Lake Andes and later Parkston Public School.
Bernice and Richard Hempel married at the Church of Christ in Parkston on July, 19, 1969. Together they lived in Mitchell and welcomed their two sons, Todd and Tim. When the boys were near school age she attended Dakota Wesleyan University to complete her BA in elementary education. She resumed her teaching career at Rosedale Colony. She then taught a Longfellow and L.B. Williams in Mitchell, SD. She earned Teacher of the Year and later retired while at L.B. Williams. Bernice enjoyed working with children, guiding them in her quiet and gentle way. She loved watching things grow, whether it was children or flowers. She blossomed when she spoke of her three grandchildren.
She is remembered by her husband of 46 years, Richard, two sons’ families, Todd (Rebecca Studelska) and children, Grace and Ella of Mitchell, Tim (Nicole) and son, Nathan of Sioux Falls, her siblings: Jay (Ellen) Ymker, Janis Koster both of Armour, Luann (Ben) Lagge of Corsica and numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents and her brother, John.
In lieu of flowers, memorials will be given to Delilia Weber Foundation
(for the support of children’s education).