June 20, 1915-Aug. 23, 2004

PROSSER, Wash. - Bernice Ellen Sampson, 89, a long time resident of Prosser, died Monday, Aug. 23, 2004, at Prosser Memorial Long Term Care facility.

The funeral for Mrs. Sampson was held Saturday, Aug. 28, at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Prosser. Concluding service and burial were at the Prosser Cemetery.

Mrs. Sampson was born June 20, 1915, at Moxee, Wash., to John Lewis and Gertrude McKray Yantis. She received her early education at the old Paterson School and then attended St. Paul's in Walla Walla for a few years. She attended Prosser High School during her junior year then moved with her family to Milton-Freewater where she graduated from McLoughlin Union High School in 1933. She then attended Whitman College for two years.

She met her future husband, Paul Sampson, while they were in high school. During their early relationship, because Bernice lived in Paterson, they did their courting on the Paterson Ferry. The couple were married on July 26, 1936 at Milton-Freewater and built their first Prosser residence on Court Street. Mr. Sampson ran the Golden Rule Store. In 1939 they moved to Grandview and started a second Golden Rule Store. In 1941, during World War II, he joined the Navy and Mrs. Sampson became a Navy wife. They returned to Prosser where they owned the Golden Rule Store with T. B. Sampson until the store closed in 1995.

Mrs. Sampson belonged to several community organizations, including PEO Chapter K (in which she held all offices and took great pride in being Historian), Tri-Hi-Y, Prosser Memorial Hospital Guild, Orthopedic Guild, American Legion Auxiliary, Franklin County 40 et 8 and various bridge clubs. She was also a member of St. Matthews Episcopal Church and was very active in the Church Guild spending many hours caring for the needs of the church. In 1961, she was honored with Prosser's Woman of the Year award. In 1993, she and Paul were selected as grand marshals of the State's Day Parade, chosen because of their "continual support to the community and were the type of people that make Prosser the great community it is."

The Sampsons bought an airplane and enjoyed flying with the Flying Farmers Group and also brought property on Blakely Island, to which they often flew. Her love of flying grew with many family trips, including two across the United States.

Most of all Mrs. Sampson was a loving homemaker, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother whose family and church were the center of her life. She took pride in keeping an immaculate house. She enjoyed 4th of July family gatherings on the Oregon beaches. She was said to be a great mom who took groups of boys to sporting events and was a Cub Scout Den Mother. Gardening was a favorite past-time and she had a beautiful yard with roses and flowers. She took great pride in putting together scrapbooks and photo albums of her family and Prosser history. The Sampsons also enjoyed hunting for artifacts along the Columbia River.

Survivors include her son, Dick Sampson and his wife, Beverly; granddaughter, Shawna Sue Mauldin; great-grandson, River Tash Sampson Mauldin; step-great-grandchildren, Paige and Conner; and brother, John Yantis. She was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Paul Sampson, who died on November 19, 1995, by her parents and by a brother, Dick Yantis.

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Matthew's

Prosser Funeral Home, P.O. Box 409, Prosser, Wa 99350 was in charge of arrangements

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