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1919 Katherine 2024

Katherine Bernice Jones

May 26, 1919 — May 20, 2024

Katherine Bernice Jones May 26, 1919 - May 20, 2024

She was born Katherine Bernice Metz on May 26, 1919, in Bangs, Texas, to Ethel French Metz and Amos E. Metz. Bernice slipped the bonds of this earth on May 20, 2024, in Emmett, Idaho, at the age of 104, a few days shy of her 105th birthday.

Bernice and her brother, A.B., and sister, Christine, grew up under the harsh conditions of the Great Depression. Their mother was a resourceful and hard-working individual and a devoted student of nutrition who lived to the ripe old age of 109. Bernice always attributed her family’s remarkable longevity to their daily dose of collard greens.

After graduating from Bangs High School, Class of 1935-36, she worked in a local diner to save enough money to enter nursing school in Brady, TX. In 1941 Bernice married C.W. Jones, of Comanche,TX, however, it took him nine proposals to get to one “yes.” They left immediately for employment in the Canol Pipeline in the Yukon Territory, making the long journey in a Model Ford with only a hymnal for entertainment. C.W., “Doc,” was hired as a pipefitter and Bernice was a civilian nurse employed by the US Army.

When war broke out, Doc joined the Merchant Marines as a deck engineer aboard the Liberty Ships and Bernice lived with her mother and sister in Sacramento, CA. At the end of the war, the couple moved to Dunnigan, CA where they began their family. They lived for some years in Bothell, WA, and Phoenix, AZ, eventually settling in Boise, ID.

As a young mother, Bernice hung up her nursing cap and followed her passion as a watercolor and oil artist, juggling her enthusiasm for plein-air, still life, and portraiture with the many duties of raising 4 children. Her offspring often found her in the early morning hours painting a landscape in the garden. Doc liked to complain that the scrambled eggs always tasted like turpentine but to her children that was the sweet perfume of their mother. She stole every precious hour possible to paint, and it wasn’t unusual to find her racing for Sunday church services with wet paint in her hair from a 4 a.m. frenzied session in the studio, biscuit dough under her fingernails, and dressed in the same navy skirt and white blouse she wore for 52 Sundays running.

Bernice’s art was featured in many galleries in the west, including La Galleria in Scottsdale, AZ, Fritchman’s and Brown’s galleries in Boise, and Bainbridge Arts and Crafts in Winslow, WA. One art critic described her inimitable painterly style as “happy slapdash,” and no one could have defined her freewheeling breezy technique more aptly. She was known for her cowboys and Western landscapes, but when she tired of painting “horses’ rumps,” she would turn to her true love of non-objective art.

In 1981, Bernice and Doc retired to Comanche, TX, near their childhood homes. Doc passed away in 1993, and Bernice eventually returned to Idaho to live a quiet and comfortable life in Emmett. Her catalog of work grew to over 350 pieces of art, with many paintings either sold or given away that are undocumented.

For those folks lucky enough to know her, Bernice was a beauty oblivious to her own movie star looks. She charmed the world with her inscrutable smile, quiet poise, and southern drawl. She was interested in people and a better listener than talker. She had a keen political mind and loved discussing current events with anyone who sat at her kitchen table. It was common practice for her daughters’ boyfriends to return the girls home safely at the appointed hour and then find themselves drinking coffee and sharing their hopes and dreams to Bernice until Doc would rouse and shoo them off. She was a favorite of her extended family of nieces, nephews, and her in-laws, and treated everyone with genuine Southern hospitality.

As a devout Lutheran, Bernice was a contributing member of her local church wherever she lived, including Our Savior's in Phoenix, Redeemer Lutheran in Boise, Hope Lutheran In Comanche, and Our Redeemer Lutheran in Emmett. God's grace was the bedrock of her faith.

In her final act of selflessness, Bernice donated her body to medical research at Idaho State University. How like her to consider others as she departed this earth.

Bernice was preceded in death by her two eldest children, Victoria C. Josslin and Robert B. Jones. She is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth (Mike) Medes of Emmett, and son, Mark Jones of Milwaukee, WI, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Services will be held Saturday, May 25, at 10 a.m., at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2920 Cassia Street in Boise. 

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In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Idaho Food Bank, Salvation Army, or charity of choice. Her paintings and a more detailed CV may be viewed on her artist’s Facebook page Please feel free to share your memories of Bernice below.

The family wishes to express their gratitude for the loving care provided to Bernice by the staff of Apple Valley Residence in Emmett, At Home Health Providers, and Canyon Home Care and Hospice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Katherine Bernice Jones, please visit our flower store.


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