Bernice Metz, 83, teacher

Bernice L. Metz
Bernice L. Metz
Posted: August 24, 2014

Bernice L. Metz, 83, of Abington, a teacher who became a sculptor after suffering an aneurysm, died Saturday, Aug. 16, of aspiration pneumonia at Sunrise of Abington.

Born in Philadelphia, Mrs. Metz grew up in the Logan section of the city, where her parents owned a pharmacy and soda fountain at 15th and Duncannon Streets. She graduated from Olney High School and earned a bachelor's degree in education from Temple University in 1949.

Mrs. Metz married Theodore J. Metz in 1949 after a courtship, and taught first grade at Moore School in Northeast Philadelphia for two years before she stopped working to raise her three children at the couple's home in Abington.

Mrs. Metz returned to work part-time in 1970, teaching adults who had not graduated from high school to prepare for their GEDs, and serving on the bargaining team for part-time employees in the Philadelphia Teachers Union.

"She had a very strong personality," said her son, Richard Metz. "She was a very determined woman. She was very outgoing, loved to socialize, and she loved young people."

Mrs. Metz also enjoyed visiting museums, attending the opera, and for a time she hosted a weekly bridge club meeting at her home.

"She was very good at bridge," her son said. "And she loved music and art. There were always books around our house."

In 1975, a week after she entered her mother into a nursing home, Mrs. Metz suffered a traumatic cerebral hemorrhage from an aneurysm and lost all of her speech.

"That was a very hard time for our family," Richard Metz said. "It was a real struggle. She was the one who had held everything together."

But, after months of physical and speech therapy, Mrs. Metz gained back some of her ability to speak, and took a keen interest in ceramics and sculpture as a means of expressing herself. She worked at Allens Lane Art Center in Philadelphia, and created ceramic, wood and stone sculptures.

"She did some great work, and they did a fantastic job with her there at Allens," her son said.

In time, Mrs. Metz was able to resume traveling with her husband, who died in 1998, and she amazed her family with her recovery.

"It was something to see after what she went through," Richard Metz said.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Metz is survived by son David, daughter Carole Gavazzi, a brother, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Thursday, Aug. 21.

Donations may be sent to the Moss Rehabilitiation Center's Aphasia Program, 5510 Old York Rd., Breamer Building, Philadelphia 19141.



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