Bernice Johnson Teel

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Bernice Johnson Teel, 95, Nevada, Mo., died Dec. 16, 2003, at her residence in Nevada. Mrs. Teel was born Feb. 1, 1908, in Sarcoxie, Mo., to Dr. E.W. and Mrs. Jessie Alice (Bales) Johnson. She attended Sarcoxie School and graduated in 1925, and attended Springfield Teachers College receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education in 1929.

She started her teaching career in Borger, Texas. At the end of the school year, she returned to Missouri and entered the University of Missouri continuing her education and receiving a Masters in English in 1933.

To meet the requirements for a Masters thesis, she was one of eighteen students who took part in a place name study of the 114 counties in Missouri. Mrs. Teel's assignment was six of he west central counties; Vernon, Bates, Cass, St. Clair, Henry and Johnson. When all these were completed, card information was arranged in alphabetical order. The file was then placed in the University of Missouri Library in Columbia. Another copy was sent to the Board on Geographical Names at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C., and place in their library.

After receiving her Masters Degree, she was in a program offered by Missouri University and Springfield University to teach extension classes in English. At the end of the program she returned to public schools and taught at both the grade and high school levels in Missouri. She made a career in teaching for 40 years. The last 28 years were spent teaching in Nevada Junior High Language Arts. Among her extra-curricular activities, she sponsored a Junior High Club for 25 years. She retired from teaching in 1974. After husband's death she returned to the Nevada School as a substitute teacher, teaching eight more years.

She was married to Emmet Teel on Dec. 25, 1942, in Joplin, Mo. Mrs. Teel was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Nevada. She served as an elder and was Clerk of the Session from 1985 through 2001. She was also a member of the American Association of University Women and served as President for two bienniums. She was a charter member of Alpha Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an honor society for teachers, and served as President for two bienniums. She was a member of the Retired Teachers Association, Vernon County Historical Society and a member of the Eastern Star.

There are no immediate family survivors. Mr. Teel died Feb. 25, 1977, and her sister, Mrs. Jessie Alice Ray, died July 29, 1997. A nephew of Emmet Teel, Fred Teel and his wife Bonnie, are her only survivors.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 19, at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, Mo., with the pastor of the Nevada First Presbyterian Church, Greg Ferree, officiating. Interment will follow in Moore Cemetery, Nevada, Mo.

Friends may call from now and until the hour of service at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada.

Memorials may be made to the Johnson-Teel Scholarship Fund or to the Nevada First Presbyterian Church, in care of the funeral home.