She was born June 6, 1912, the daughter of Oscar and Myrtle Ellen Poole Smith. She married Arnold Shartzer on January 10, 1934.
Educated in a one-room rural school, Caneyville High School, Western Kentucky State Teachers’ College and later, Western Kentucky University, she then taught in one-room schools, including Stinson where she attended as a child. She taught one year for $50 a month, and had to quit after 6 months because the county ran out of money! Most of her teaching career was at Caneyville Grade school where she enjoyed the second grade children until she retired in 1972. Wanting to continue her favorite activity, she did substitute teaching until she was 73. She never stopped teaching. Everyone could come to her for “living history lessons” because she remembered everything that happened to her, and could tell the best stories about how things used to be. Former students, family members, neighbors, and everyone she knew in the Caneyville community could count on her knowledge, compassion, and wisdom when they needed help or someone to celebrate their accomplishments. One of her favorite activities was to send cards to let people know she was thinking of them on special occasions or when they needed a boost. Some days she sent 5 to 6 cards! She loved to write the “Caneyville News”, and always added her personal touch to the stories.
The center of Bernice Shartzer’s life was around service to God through organizing and facilitating others’ spiritual development. As a child of a Pentecostal Minister, she was baptized at 12 years old and became an early member of the Apostolic Church in Caneyville, Ky. She organized Sunday School classes and served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Caneyville Holiness Church until it merged with the Leitchfield House of Prayer to form the First Apostolic Church of Millwood. She continued to serve as Secretary/Treasurer of the church for many years. Church members, young and old alike, relied on her wisdom and support to help them walk their spiritual paths, and the organization benefited from her many financial contributions.
She is survived by daughters, Bonnie Embrey of Caneyville, and Carol June Maker of Tucson, AZ; grandsons, David Embrey of Caneyville, and Glenn Embrey of Georgetown, Ky.; great-grandchildren, Mercedes, Mariah, and Brennen Embrey of Edmonton, Ky., Owen and Thomas Embrey of Caneyville, and River Clark of Georgetown; granddaughters-in-law, Connie Embrey, Cheryl Brown, and Carman Clark; sisters, Veneda McDonald of Anderson, IN, Ruth Shiver, Carla Donahoo, Shirley Rhodes, Barbara Stanley, and Mary Cupp, all of Owensboro, Ky.; brothers, Kenneth “Pete” Smith of Gardnerville, NV, O T Smith of Crestwood, Ky., George and Paul Smith of Owensboro, and Joe T. Smith of Urbana, IL; sisters-in-law, Lucille Smith of Greensboro, NC, Judith Smith of Gardnerville, NV, Dixie Smith and Marie Smith, both of Owensboro, and Jane Smith of Urbana, IL; brothers-in-law, Ed Shiver, Carl Donahoo, James Stanley, and Ed Wayne Cupp; many cousins, nieces, and nephews, and a host of former students.
She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her step-mother, Vivian Turner Smith; brothers, Layman, Arthur, Justice, and Jimmy D.; sister, Jacqueline Pierce; daughter, Martha Jean Shartzer; and son-in-law, Albert G. Embrey.
Funeral services will be at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at Millwood First Apostolic Church in Millwood, with Rev. George Langdon officiating.
Burial will be in the Caneyville Cemetery.
Dermitt Funeral Home, in Caneyville, is in charge of the arrangements.
Friends may call at the funeral home from 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and after 9:00 a.m. until time of service at the church