Bernice Vossbeck

  Bernice Vossbeck, 95, peacefully passed away at her home on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

  Bernice was born April 20, 1923, at the family home in Lynden to Isaac and Jennie Elenbaas. After attending Lynden Christian grade school through 8th grade, she then graduated from Lynden High School in 1940. Bernice received her teaching certificate from Western Washington University in 1944, and she began teaching in the Lynden School District in 1945. Later she attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and received her master’s degree in geography in 1946. During her career in the Lynden School District she was a teacher from 1945 to 1972 (in grades 2, 3, 6 and 7), and became the first woman principal in the Lynden School District in 1973 at Fisher Elementary. In 1969 she was honored as a guest professor and taught summer school and evening classes for the Western Washington University Geography Department.

  Bernice received many special recognitions. She was honored in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities in 1944. In 1977 she was recognized as the Alumnus of the Year at Lynden High School. In 1985 she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Lynden School District and also the Washington State Special Recognition Award. Her greatest honor came in 1997 when the Lynden School District named the new Bernice Vossbeck Elementary School in her name.

  Bernice had many interests, hobbies and civic activities. She loved traveling and visited many countries and five continents. She also enjoyed spending time reading, playing golf and hiking, and became a Master Gardener. She was involved in many organizations including Delta Kappa Gamma, Friends of the Lynden Library, Lynden Pioneer Museum, PEO, Lynden Garden Club, the Berthusen Park advisory board, Washington State Retired Teachers Association, Lynden Parks and Trails, Northwest Washington Fair Flower Department and the Whatcom County Endowment Board. She was baptized in 1923 in Second Christian Reformed Church in Lynden. In 1962 she became an active member and was confirmed into the United Methodist Church of Lynden.

  Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Henry Vossbeck; and siblings Albert James Elenbaas, Anne Marie Harris and Eugene Isaac Elenbaas.

  She is survived by her three children, daughter Mary Ann Alderson-Williams of Sedro Woolley, son Karl (Veronica) Vossbeck of Kent and son Henry (Wendy) Vossbeck of Lynden; and three grandchildren, Kurtis Vossbeck, Amanda Vossbeck and Erika Vossbeck.

  In honor of Bernice, a celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 19, in the Lynden United Methodist Church with Pastor Conrado Gonzaga officiating.

  Memorials are suggested to the Bernice Vossbeck Elementary School Library Fund, 1301 E. Bridgeview Dr., Lynden, WA 98264.

  You are invited to share your memories and condolences in the online guestbook at

  Arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services.