It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Bernice Marie Janssen Verwys. She passed away surrounded by the love of her family on Friday, June 4, 2021.
Bernice was born in Detroit, Mich., to Dorothy and Gerrit Janssen. She was a mother to Stephanie Lisl Verwys and Jake William Verwys and raised her children with love and devotion in Sparta, N.J., with her husband, Steven Verwys.
Bernice was a carer. She was profoundly empathetic and she made enough room in her heart for the pain that someone was feeling. With her profound empathy Bernice had the innate ability to console. She made you feel lighter. She loved laughter, which Bernice used to lift any burdens from her friends and family. She thought it was the most direct route through sorrow. She always said if she could choose one characteristic in life it would be a sense of humor.
Bernice was a loving and gracious spirit. She lived with tremendous compassion and desired to make the world a little more kind. Bernice, in her compassionate and selfless nature, was an avid volunteer at Sparta Arts and a true believer in the healing power of music and of coming together. She enjoyed her free time reading, gardening, and vacationing with family in Northern Michigan.
She is survived by her loving husband, Steven; children, Stephanie Verwys (Kevin Hennigan) and Jake Verwys (Yaminah Agosto); siblings, Deborah Frye (Steve) and John (Barb), Steve (Gerry), and Mark Janssen; and her nieces and nephews.
Although we grieve her loss, we are choosing to remember Bernice in a way that honors her vibrant spirit. A celebration of life will be planned for late this summer.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Sparta Arts. You may donate online by visiting https://www.facebook.com/donate/1135701756916319/ or by check to the Sparta Township at 65 Main St, Sparta Township, N.J., 07871 with the memo line “Summer Concert Series Sponsorship.”