Bernice Imbrock


NAPOLEON -- Bernice (Purdon) Imbrock, second of four daughters born June 1, 1931, to Clarence and Elsie (Meyfarth) Purdon in Detroit, Michigan, died peacefully at her home near Napoleon at 12:55 p.m. Dec. 9, 2013, She was in her eighth week of Henry County Hospice care.

In Bernie's early high school years, the family moved from Detroit's east side to Mt. Clemens, from where she moved on to Capital University, Columbus, Ohio. She completed her degree in education and also met Norman Imbrock there. Bernie taught one year at Circleville, Ohio, before marrying Norm on August 8, 1954. Their marriage was solemnized at St. John's Lutheran Church, New Baltimore, Mich., with Pastors George Daschner and George Hueter presiding.

The newly married couple moved to St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Butler, Pa., for a year of internship before returning for their final year of training for the ministry at Trinity Lutheran Seminary of Columbus. During those first two years of marriage, Bernie taught in Pennsylvania and Ohio junior high and high schools.

Norm graduated from the seminary and received a call to Overseas Missions in 1956. But before traveling overseas to Papua, New Guinea, they both studied linguistics for eight weeks in Grand Forks, N.D., with Summer Institute of Linguistics in association with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Bernie and Norm traveled to Papua, New Guinea, in October of 1956, and served there as a missionary team with the ELC-PNG until 1987 when they returned to the U.S. Then they served Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Patchogue, Long Island, N.Y., where Bernie taught preschool for five years before retiring as a teacher in 1992. Norm retired from full-time ministry in 1997 before they moved back to CrissCross Farm in September 2000.

The couple was blessed with the birth of two sons and two daughters, Matthew and Valerie (Fry) Imbrock of Tieton, Wash., Timothy and Carol (Finley) Imbrock of Nampa, Idaho, Naomi and David Radke of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and Joanna and Chris Peters of St. Paul, Minn.

Bernie is survived by her husband and two sisters, Roberta Purdon of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Patricia Hamby (and husband Jim) of Indianapolis, Ind. There are 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren

Preceding Bernie in death were her older sister, Janet Eastman of Newberry, Mich.; and one grandchild, Trevor Imbrock of Ely, Minn.

Visitation will be at Rodenberger Funeral Home, Napoleon, on December 18, from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., with funeral services at 11 a.m. on December 19 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (on Adams Ridge Road, Defiance), with Pastor Robbie Ketcham presiding. Burial will be at the cemetery of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Napoleon Township.

Memorials may be given to Bethlehem Lutheran Church (Adams Ridge, Defiance) or Hospice of Henry County.

We all look forward to Jesus' presence who has taken away the sting of death from us.

Online condolences can be made at

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