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Posted on February 11, 2018 | 7:20 p.m.

Bernice Hurst Qualls of Santa Barbara, 1919-2018

Source: Kate Perlis McKinniss

Bernice Hurst Qualls
Bernice Hurst Qualls

Born Ruth Bernice Hurst in Pleasant Hill, MO, in April 1919, she was given the nickname “B” by her six siblings and many friends. She played softball at Central Union High School and helped at her parents’ general store and gas station in El Centro, CA.

Prior to the end of World War II, having completed business school, Bernice stepped up in Rosie the Riveter fashion and worked at the Nordstrom Valve Company in Oakland, while the boys were overseas.

In 1942 Bernice married her love, Joe Qualls, in Yuma, AZ. They started their family in Lynwood, CA, and had three children.

Bernice was a savvy business woman in partnership with her husband. They purchased, refurbished and flipped homes before the term was vogue.

Bernice and Joe moved the family to Apple Valley in 1966, where they set down deep roots in the budding community.

Joe was vice president and manager of the Bank of America in Victorville. Bernice was an active member of the Victor Valley Women’s Club, PTA and local children’s literacy and health programs.

After Joe’s passing in 2002, Bernice moved to Santa Barbara to be near her eldest daughter.

Among Bernice’s enthusiasms in Santa Barbara were gardening, home improvement projects, Free Methodist Church, Cliff Drive Care Center Senior Lunch Program, water aerobics with her girlfriends, and walks at Shoreline Park with her Maltese, Shasta.

But her heart belonged foremost to her family. She is preceded in death by Joe, her husband of 60 years.

She is survived by daughter Cindy Perlis and her husband Bob of Santa Barbara; daughter Becky Pulford and her husband John of Tehachapi, CA; son Doug Qualls of Apple Valley, whose wife Jaynie passed away only one day after Bernice; eight grandchildren and their seven spouses; and 15 great-grandchildren.

Bernice built meaningful relationships with each of her grandchildren. She was quick to listen and an avid communicator —  letter-writing and phone calls were part of her daily routine.

In turn, her home was constantly filled with notes, photos, phone calls, visits, flowers and gifts.

Reaching nearly 99 years of age, Bernice grew old with enormous grace and will be remembered for her heart full of gratitude, wonder at life, positive outlook, can-do attitude and willingness to always lend a helping hand.

She is a dearly loved woman, which is merely a reflection of the ways she respected and loved all those around her. She will be deeply missed, but we are celebrating with her a long life, well lived.

Services for Bernice will be held Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Victor Valley Memorial Park, 15609 11th St., Victorville, CA. Visitation is at 10 a.m., followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m.

— Kate Perlis McKinniss


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