Bernice Killingsworth White

Friday, March 23, 2012

HARRISBURG - Bernice Gardner Killingsworth White, of Harrisburg, Ark., departed this life Thursday, March 8, 2012, at her home at the age of 90.

She was born April 16, 1921, the daughter of Cad Gardner, Sr., and Nettie Austin Gardner.

At the age of four her Aunt Hattie Gardner taught Bernice to sew. She was a beautiful seamstress who made clothes for her family and friends. Several members of the Harrisburg Hornet Cheerleaders in the 1970's remember her fondly for making them the best dressed cheerleaders in their summer camp competitions where they won many ribbons. She was known for loving brightly colored clothes with lots of bling. She also enjoyed gardening and canning. Best of all, she loved her First Baptist Church family. The highlight of her day was to sit down in a quiet place at 4 0'clock to read her Bible and spend time with Jesus. She would always talk about how much she loved Jesus and was looking forward to her heavenly home.

Like thousands of women around the country of her era, she blazed a trail and started working outside the home. Her first job was with Slant and Slant manufacturing in Marked Tree, Arkansas. Later, she joined the work force with the Johansen Shoe Factory. She was also employed at Crawford Lime and Feed Store and later became a cook at the Poinsett County Jail. Bernice enjoyed politics and became an avid campaigner for Gerald Crawford during his years in office as Sheriff. Many around Poinsett County will remember her, along with her daughter, Barbara Crawford and her three daughters, Tammi, Tommi and Terri and grandson Jerry who campaigned door to door around the county. She was also an election clerk for close to 30 years.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, Gene White, her brothers, Cad Gardner, Jr., Donald Gardner, Jimmy Gardner and her sisters, Billy Jo Ryan, Margie Prather, Maxine Gardner and Madge Blakenship.

She is survived by her only child, Barbara Lee Crawford and her husband Gerald Crawford, Sr., her step-mother, Bobbie Gussberry and her brother, Charlie Gardner, all of Harrisburg. She is also survived by grandchildren, Tammi Crawford Atha, Terri Crawford Box, Tommi Crawford Teeter, Gerald (Jerry) Thomas Crawford, Jr., great grandchildren, Tara Moye Byers, Eric Thomas, Crawford Box, Sam Box, Nathan Thomas, Michael Wallin, Dustin Crawford, Andrew Crawford and Jennifer Crawford Cooper; great-great-grandchildren, Tatum Byers, Beck Thomas, Ezra Thomas, Caleb Thomas, Brilee Thomas, Payton Thomas, Jason Harper, Jenna Wallin, and Barret Crawford Cooper. She also leaves a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services were held Thursday, March 15, 2012, at the First Baptist Church in Harrisburg with Rev. Jerry Kausler, Rev. Kelly Jones, and Rev. Captain Lovell officiating. Interment followed in Harrisburg Memorial Park under the direction Gregg-Weston Funeral Home of Harrisburg. Eric Thomas, Nathan Thomas, Crawford Box, Dustin Crawford, Andrew Crawford, Michael Wallin and Ralph Myers, III served as pallbearers. John Keith Hutchison, Bob Chandler, Harry Farmer, Jim Tom Butler, and members of the Helen Faust Sunday School Class served as honorary pallbearers. Online condolences may be made to the White family at