Bernice Florence (Turcotte) PaterakDecember 11, 1921 ~ February 5, 2017 (age 95)
Bernice Florence (Turcotte) Paterak, 95, passed away on Sunday February 5, 2017 at South
Portland Nursing Home. She was born on December 11, 1921 in Worcester, Massachusetts to parents Philias J. and Evelyn A. (Girouard) Turcotte. Bernice attended Heard Street School and Worcester Girls Trade School, where she attained her nickname ‘Bunny’ and excelled in domestic arts, economics and printing. She was an avid basketball player during her school years and remained an enthusiastic basketball (Celtics) and football (Patriots) fan for most of her life.
In 1941, she wed Stanley J. ‘Pat’ Paterak and they settled in Dedham, MA where they raised the first four of their six children and owned several homes over the years. In the early 1960s Bunny and Pat moved their home to Shrewsbury, MA, where they had two more children and lived closer to their aging parents. In addition to raising six children over the course of several decades Bunny held several positions with print shops. She was a friend to all that knew her, always welcoming others into her home and ready with delicious homemade baked goods and a fresh pot of coffee. This hospitable and kind nature was integral to her spirit and she made lifelong friends wherever life took her. Among her closest friends throughout their life, were her two sisters Maddie and Connie with whom she looked after her mother, and played regular card games at least twice a week, if not more. Family was central to Bunny’s life.
In the late 1960’s Bunny and Pat bought a piece of land in Jefferson, Maine from a dear friend to build a summer camp. Along with family and friends they built a log cabin on the water, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Shortly after the camp’s completion in 1971, Bunny’s husband lost his battle with cancer. The camp remained a place of much happiness for her and her youngest children, each summer spent in the woods, exploring and swimming with dear friends and family who visited. Much later, in 1997, Bunny decided to make Jefferson her year round home which lasted almost a decade before poor eyesight and the inability to drive brought her closer to her youngest daughter’s home in Portland to be near her youngest grandchildren. Bunny has considered both the Park Danforth and South Portland Nursing Home her homes here in Portland.
Bunny was predeceased by: her parents, Philias J. Turcotte 1893-1976 and Evelyn A. (Girouard) Turcotte 1894-1994; husband; Stanley J. Paterak 1918-1971; and her siblings, Madeline Rutkiewicz 1920-2009, Constance Giza 1927-2013 and brother Valmore Turcotte 1919-1985. She is survived by all six of her children: daughter, Elaine M. Sellig and her husband John of West Springfield, MA; son, Richard A. Paterak and his wife Rose of Ontario, Canada; son, John J. Paterak of Spencer, MA; daughter, Judith E. Maloney and her husband, Mike of Hillsborough, NC; son, Joseph P. Paterak of Sturbridge, MA; and daughter Jeanne E. Paterak and her husband, Keith Fitzgerald of Portland, ME. She also leaves her brother-in-law Stephan Paterak from Grafton, MA. Bunny also leaves a big loving family of nine grandchildren: Susan Lemos, Sara Hooker, Dan Maloney, Erin Ozer, Mary Maloney, Stefania Paterak-Gumbley, Nik Paterak, Alexander Fitzgerald, and Ellis Fitzgerald; as well as nine great-grandchildren: Amanda, Kevin, Dan, Joe, Dean, Grey, Ava, Noah and Mabel, and many wonderful nieces and nephews and extended family throughout the country.
The family would like to extend its deepest gratitude for the nurses and caregivers at South Portland Nursing Home and Hospice of Southern Maine.
In lieu of flowers please consider making donations in memory of Bunny to Hospice of Southern Maine, South Portland Nursing Home activities fund or Portland Wheelers.
A Memorial Mass will take place at 9:30 AM on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at St. Anne's Church, 130 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA 01545 followed by a committal service at Notre Dame Cemetery, 12 Webster St., Worcester, MA 01603. A celebration of Bernice's life will follow at a location to be announced.