M. Theresa C. Bernier, 77: Distance did not separate her from family, Maine

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KETCHIKAN, ALASKA — M. Theresa “Terry” C. Bernier, 77, formerly of Topsham, died unexpectedly on May 13.

Bernier was born Jan. 2, 1938, the daughter of Octave and Clementine (Fortin) Caron, in Lille. The family soon moved to Auburn, where she was educated and graduated high school in 1955.

She furthered her education at Gorham State Teachers College, where she earned a teaching degree in 1960. She later received a master’s degree in early childhood education.

A lifelong learner, Bernier taught at Harpswell Island School and at St. John’s Catholic School.

On July 14, 1962, she married John B. Bernier Jr. in a double wedding ceremony alongside her sister, Gemma. Theresa and John were married 45 years until his death in 2007.

The couple made their home and raised their family in Topsham, and built a camp on Orr’s Island. Even after moving to Alaska in 1984, Bernier returned to Maine for a few months each year to visit relatives and friends and enjoy the camp.

While in Ketchikan, she attended the University of Alaska and earned a degree in travel, tourism and hospitality. She later worked as an auditor at an Alaska resort, as a retail sales associate, and as a secretary at Ketchikan General Hospital and Ketchikan Assemblies of God Church.

She was an active member of the church for over 30 years, serving as a deacon and a member of its board, membership committee, missions committee and youth ministry.

Bernier enjoyed singing, knitting and crocheting, and scrapbooking, and was an avid reader. She enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband, Bernier was predeceased by parents; her brothers, Octave Caron Jr., Clifford Caron and Patrick Caron; and her sisters, Henriette Audet and Gemma Boutin.

She is survived by her three children, Rebecca Bernier-Farlow, of Ketchikan, Celeste Lopez and her husband, Miguel, of Juneau, Alaska, and John B. Bernier III and his wife, Dawn, of Topsham; granddaughters, Rebecca and Jonika, both of Juneau, Elizabeth, of Topsham, Katherine, of Bowdoinham, Briana, of Juneau, and Alannah, of Ketchikan; great-grandchildren, Isaiah, Christian, Micah, Reagan, Carter, Brodie and Sawyer, all of Juneau; sisters, Rena St. Amour and her husband, Roland, Mariette Pare and her husband, Andre, of Lewiston, Claire Pelletier and her husband, Lou, of Roseville, California, and Anne Caron and her husband, Roy, of Hartford, Connecticut; brother-in-law, Adrien Bernier, of Topsham; sister-in-law, Muriel Bernier; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and many friends.

A funeral was held Wednesday, June 10, at Pathways Vineyard Church, in Brunswick. Interment was scheduled to follow on Thursday, June 11, at 10 a.m., in Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Mt. Vernon Road, Augusta.