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  • Boucher O'Brien Funeral Home

Bernice J. Latka 1934-2024

Bernice J. (Maiewski) Latka, 89, passed away on February 23, 2024 at the Agawam Rehab Center. Born on September 9, 1934 in Sunderland, she was the daughter of Bronislaw and Bronislwa (Burek) Maiewski. Bernice grew up in Sunderland and graduated with honors from Amherst High School. She then went on to work at the University of Massachusetts as a secretary.

She met her husband John “Norman” Latka at the White Eagle club. They were married in 1956 and celebrated 34 years together, until his passing in 1995, at the age of 60. In 1958 they founded John N. Latka Printing Co. As an infant, Paul was placed in the front window of the shop with a sign saying “business needed”. It was a successful marketing campaign and the business flourished for 21 years. Bernice’s entrepreneurial spirit continued as they purchased Brundages Women’s Apparel store in Westfield, MA. After the clothing store closed, Bernice began a new adventure with the Easthampton Council on Aging for 20 years. She found her greatest satisfaction during this time, where her kindness, compassion and generosity thrived. She was the recipient of the Elsie Heintze Award, which is the councils highest honor, given in recognition of outstanding commitment to senior citizens.

While busy with work, her family and friends were her first priority. She enjoyed hosting family gatherings. She was an avid gardener, and loved basking in the sun when she wasn’t cooking or baking. She was an active member of the Sacred Heart Church, the Holy Rosary Sodality and the Helping Hand Society. Bernice was a 4-H leader for many years, and a proud multiple blue-ribbon winner at the Three County Fair. She was the first to participate in the pilot “Grandparent Program” in the Easthampton School system, where she volunteered for years.

One of Bernice’s favorite travel destinations was Ogunquit Maine, she loved the beach, Marginal Way and ocean breezes. But most of all Bernice went to Ogunquit for lobster, clam chowder and clam strips “no bellies please”. Norman and Bernice were well traveled enjoying a variety of destinations. After Norman’s passing, she continued to travel with friends and family, experiencing vacations throughout the United States and Europe. While all of her travel experiences were fantastic, none surpassed the Costa Rican experience back in ‘79. They ventured to the country with the final leg of the trip on an underwing single engine 4-passenger Piper Cub, landing in the bush, with the intention of evaluating a gold-mine claim.

Bernice will be dearly missed by her children, Paul Latka and wife Camille of Longmeadow, Suzanne Lukas and husband Mark of Belchertown and John Latka of South Hadley. She was a beloved Grandmother to Alex, Steve, Allie, Katie and Christine. She was predeceased by her sister Cecilia Malinowski and brother Joseph Maiewski.

Calling hours will be held at the Boucher-O’Brien Funeral home, 7 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA on Friday March 1, from 4-6 PM. Family and Friends are invited to the Funeral Home on Saturday March 2, for 9AM with a 10AM prayer service, followed by the burial at St. Stanislaus Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Shriner Children’s New England or Alzheimer Association.

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