Bernice Fay (Teulker) Tell left this world and us earlier this week and is now resting peacefully in the arms of her Heavenly Father.
Words to describe Bernice are clever, witty, kind, generous, hard-working, funny, adventurous, sometimes crass, other times impatient, walking contradiction and loving Mom, Grammy and Gigi.
She was born in Dudley, MO in May 1924 and was the older daughter of Clarence and Cecil Teulker, arriving two years before her sister, Lucille (Teulker) Nelson. Bernie Fay’s early life in Missouri included horseback riding, swimming in the river, climbing trees and spending time with her favorite grandmother, Alma. When she was 12, she came down with pneumonia and her family decided it best to move to California for her health. She and her family took the long train ride to California in the mid-1930s.
Her family settled in Turlock and she graduated from Turlock High School. If she had been born 40 years later, she would have gone to college and become an engineer, as she was very smart and had a knack for math. Instead, when she was 19 years old, she met the love of her life, Robert (Bob) Albin Tell, Sr. They were married in December 1943 and moved to the family farm in Hilmar where she remained for the rest of her life.
She and Bob welcomed six beautiful children into their heart and home. Bernice was a devoted mother and spent many hours as a leader in 4-H, Hilmar Covenant Youth Group and PTA. In addition, she was active as a football mom. Rumor also has it, that during this time she became a pro at catching teenagers sneaking in after their curfew. Bernice had an amazing green thumb. She was a plant-whisperer and had a beautiful garden. In addition to gardening, she loved to travel. She and Bob were generous enough to take their family members with them on several trips. Bernice was blessed enough to experience much of the United States, Central America, Europe, but her favorite place was Santa Cruz.
She held a number of jobs through the years but most note-worthy, she worked at Hilmar Lumber for over forty years until she retired at the age of 85. She considered the Waterson family and lumber yard crew to be part of her “family”. Bernice was a long time member of Hilmar Covenant Church.
Bernice is survived by her children Sandra (Tell) Rico, Sherril (Tell) Bentley, Barbara Tell (Victor Roldan), Robert Tell Jr. (Rebecca Landy) and Roger (Koco) Tell; grandchildren Stephanie Edmondson (Scott Smith), Allison Niehaus, Karly Tell (Daniel Evans), Ben Tell, Jamie Tell, Max Tell, Zachary Tell, Alex Tell, Julia Scott and Janel Scott; great grandchildren Sophia Niehaus, Jillian Smith, Benjamin Smith, Allison Smith and friend and neighbor, Thomas Newman. She is also survived by her faithful dog, Susie, and numerous extended family and close friends. Bernice was preceded in death by her husband Robert Tell Sr., son Randal Tell and sister Lucille Nelson.
Services are pending. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent in Bernice’s name to the National Kidney Foundation, American Diabetes Association or your favorite charity. Please share your memories at