Bernice Helen (Renner) McWhorter (1929-2015) of Fortuna passed away peacefully Sunday, November 15.

Born into the Renner dairy family in Metropolitan, Bernice graduated from Fortuna Union High School in 1946. Before marrying her one true love, Tom McWhorter, in 1949, she worked for Garvin Goble, MD. She was a lifelong member of the St. Joseph Catholic parish of Fortuna. She loved arranging flowers, so one of her greatest joys was being a member of the Altar Society and decorating the church weekly. She was also a beautiful singer and lead the music of the church for over 30 years. Another of her delights was singing soprano with the Ferndale Community Choir. Bernice was also fond of her time with her PEO sisters and friends in the Monday Evening Club.

Most of all Bernice was a mother, wife, grandmother, daughter and sibling. No language can really express the power and beauty of Bernice’s love for her family. She was a shining example of someone who truly understood the words “unconditional love.” Bernice was a gracious, strong, compassionate woman with a heart so big that everyone’s joys or troubles were welcome in it. She was an amazing listener, vivacious hostess and positive role model for living a good, honest life with a beautiful smile.

Bernice was the loving mother of Pat and Bryce Fruiht, Carol and Bill Ryder, Ted McWhorter, Donna and Perry Timmerman, Kathleen McWhorter, and Elaine and Steve Coburn; attentive grandmother to Nic and Debby Timmerman, Brita and Erik Knutsen, Hilary and Ryan Mize, Tom and Angie Fruiht, Josh Cooper, Veronica Fruiht, and Fiona Ryder; great-grandmother to Lilja and Asher Knutsen and Patrick Mize. She is survived by her brother Rob Renner, sister Kay Swithenbank and sister in-law Jane Renner.

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Tom McWhorter, mother and father Mary and Ted Renner, sister Mary Wise and brothers Carl and Larry Renner.

The family would like to thank her dedicated caregivers Linda Williams, Jennifer Brown and Carla Rodriguez for keeping her safe and comfortable.

Celebration Mass will take place Friday, November 20 at 1pm at the St. Joseph Catholic Church, 14th & N Streets, Fortuna. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Ferndale Community Choir, PO Box 67, Ferndale, CA 95536

To paraphrase Terry Guillemets: “We love our Bernice as the trees love water and sunshine — she helped us grow and reach great heights.” We thank you. We will always love you.  


The obituary above was submitted by Bernice McWhorter’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email