Biography: Bernice Hamlor King was born on August 19, 1932 in Charlotte Courthouse, Virginia. She was the third of four children born to the late Dorothy Smith Hamlor and Elexandra Hamlor. She grew up in Red House, Virginia and attended school in Phenix, Virginia.
Bernice worked hard on her parents farm. She attended church at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Red House, Virginia.
Ms. Bernice met her future husband, Junius Taylor King by walking up the county road towards the mail boxes which she would retrieve and bring back to her family. Junius fell in love with Bernice and went to her father Elexandra to ask for her hand in marriage; to which he said yes.
Bernice and Junius were married on January 6, 1952 in Red House, Virginia. Junius was discharged from the Navy in 1952 and moved to Norfolk, Virginia with his new wife. The couple stayed with Junius’ parents for about six months. Bernice became pregnant with the couples first child, Betty Anne.
Bernice, Junius and their new baby migrated to Rockerly Center, Long Island in New York. The family began to grow with the addition of John, Elsie, Thurston, Levi and Baby Girl Colless Doliares King.
Bernice worked at Deacon Photo for seventeen years in Long Island City.
Bernice loved going to church with her sister Aliees Davis every Sunday. They worshipped at Shiloh Baptist Church in Rocker Center, Long Island under the leadership of Reverend Days. Bernice loved singing on the choir.
Bernice and Junius moved to Jamaica Queens, New York for a couple of years while there children was still small. The family finally moved to Harlem, New York where the children went to school and Junius Taylor King passed away early in his life.
Bernice loved traveling to Canada, the Niagara Falls and Bermuda with her daughter Betty Anne.
Bernice served her community at the Drew Hamilton Projects for almost twenty-seven years; having worked with
authority, Drew Hamilton Tenants Association on residence watch. She has won nine awards from the Association on Resident Watch.
Bernice became a member of Abyssinian Baptist Church in 2001. She was known for her potato salad and her recipe for corn pudding was included in Abyssinians cookbook, “Food For the Soul: Recipes and Stories of Congregation Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church Members”.
Bernice once performed in a Lipurgico Dance as a Elder Queen, calling on the women of Villgate to dance at Abyssinian Baptist Church for the Women’s Day Program for the month of March. Their mon was a fire bird.
Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Junius King, her daughter, Colless King and her brothers Forest S. Hamlor and Mr. Pat Hamlor.
Bernice King leaves to cherish her memories: five children: Betty, John, Elsie, Thurston and Levi; one sister, Mrs. Alice Davis of Queens, New York; two sisters-in-law: Ms. Carolyn Hamlor and Sadie Hamlor; six grandchildren: Denise, Lizzette, Shonfon, Matthew, Jerome and Kisston; six great-grandchildren, one daughter-in-law, Ms. Evelyn King and family friend, Irene Hill. She also leaves behind very close friends of the family and her Abyssinian Baptist Church family.
Bernice would say to her close friends: “I know that ain’t so” but mom it is so. You were a very special lady My Queen.
—Levi King, Son and Caretaker at Home