By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer

Dr. Bernyse Hunter celebrating her 109th birthday last June, 2022.
Dr. Bernyse Hunter celebrating her 109th birthday last June, 2022.

Friends and family can stand and share words of remembrance and a pastor can officiate, extolling a person’s virtues, but who better to speak on one’s journey than the one who lived it.

When local centenarian Dr. Bernyse Hunter recently passed away at age 109, the funeral program included her own remarks on how she wanted to be remembered.

“Bernyse was a vibrant force for people, (expressed) love of humanity, of Christian togetherness and the true spirit of humility. Her attitude was positive, happy, and Christian. She loved people,” it read.

Dr. Hunter died on Thanksgiving. She was an entrepreneur, social worker and educator. She received bachelor of arts and master’s degrees from USC in the late ’70s. She taught all levels of education throughout her career and retired at 72. She also supported young people’s academic development by providing college scholarships.

She returned to the classroom at 91, earned a doctorate in holistic nutrition and was a doctor of natural health. Armed with the degree and the wisdom of the ages, Dr. Hunter practiced and taught the “old” remedies that her mother, grandmother, aunts and other wise African American women shared with her.

Dr. Hunter was celebrated with a homegoing Jan. 5 in Corona.

“The pastor and those who knew her remembered her motto and advice when faced with challenges,” shared great niece Del Sayles-Owen. “It was simply ‘keep going.’ It was that spirit, which, despite being a super senior, pushed her to go back to school and get her Ph.D. at 91. Her legacy will continue to inspire those with aspirations to ‘never give up,’” Sayles-Owen said.

A second memorial service for Dr. Hunter will be held from 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at The Village at Heritage Park, 2001 Rose Arbor Drive in Sacramento.