Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Centenarian Brendice Kathryn Gerner Davis

Aunt Brendice on her 100th birthday.
For Centenarian's Day this year I'm highlighting my grandaunt, Brendice Kathryn Gerner Davis.  Brendice was the youngest sister of my paternal grandmother, Beulah Mae Gerner Doyle.

Brendice is the 15th child (of 16) and the the 10th daughter (of 10) born to Frederick K. and Elvira Bartley Gerner.  She was born on October 9, 1895, in Butler County, Pennsylvania, and died on March 3, 1996, in Canton, Ohio.

Aunt Brendice is one of the few aunts I knew on my father's side of the family.  Because Dad's mother died soon after he was born he knew her side of his family less well than his father's side.  Yet, they were supportive and interested.  When Dad left home at the age of 21, after his father died, Aunt Brendice and her husband, Ray, took him in and Uncle Ray helped him find a job.

Aunt Brendice lived in Canton, Ohio, during the time I was a child.  We visited regularly but infrequently.  My memories of her are few but she seemed poised and somewhat formal.  And she had excellent posture.

She was also the aunt who brought my grandmother Beulah to life for me through memories and stories.  There was no one else alive who had known Beulah by the time I asked questions.  I'm grateful to Aunt Brendice for sharing memories.  She also wrote about her siblings, her own parents and their personalities, and about life on their farm in the late 1800 and early 1900s.

It's hard for me to imagine living 100 years, the years in which Aunt Brendice lived.  The changes in science, technology, transportation, and society were broad and deep.  How I wish I'd thought to ask her questions earlier in our lives.  I'm sure she could have told me a lot about her life and the lives of my grandmother and great-grandparents. 


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Aunt Brendice sounds like a lot of the older people I knew as a kid. What is it about good posture that made people seem cold and stand-offish when in fact, they could be very warm and caring? Even though you wish you had asked MORE questions, at least you asked some. I missed that opportunity far too often.

    1. Let's just say, Wendy, that Aunt Brendice was not as warm and welcoming as my grandmother. But then, she wasn't my grandmother. I'm grateful to have answers to questions, but in addition to asking too few, I didn't ask until she was in her late 90s! Her memory was good but I think her endurance and interest to answer were less than they might have been had she been 40 years younger (at which time I was probably too young to even think about asking questions). So, as you say, at least I asked some, and I'm grateful that she answered.


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