Ms. Bernice Tolson

  • Born: May 23, 1938
  • Died: October 16, 2020
  • Location: Waterbury, Connecticut

Chapel Memorial Funeral Home

35-37 Grove Street
Waterbury, CT 06710

Tel. (203) 755-4370

Tribute & Message From The Family


Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Bernice by adding your memories and photos.

Ms. Bernice Betty Tolson, 82, of Nottingham Terrace, passed away Friday, October 16, 2020, at St. Mary's Hospital Vitas.

Ms. Tolson was born May 23, 1938 in Dover, DE daughter to the late Luther M.E. and Anna E (Gibbs) Tolson.

Bernice was educated in the Delaware Public School System before relocating to New York at the age of 14 where she completed her education. She continued her education in cosmetology where she became the neighborhoods beautician. Upon relocating to New York, she lived in Sugar Hill and from Sugar Hill, she moved to the lower east side and there she resided for many years. Bernice finally settled in Waterbury 30 years ago and where she resided until her passing. Here in Waterbury she was surrounded by most of her children and grandchildren. She went on to have 11 children and during this time, she worked various other menial part time jobs while raising her children. Bernice saw an opportunity to get a job at Columbia University as a custodian and she would stop at nothing to get this job. She insisted that she must get this job because she saw and wanted to give her children the opportunity to go to college for free and her getting this job would make college a reality for her children. She was very persistent and kept after the hiring manager until she was finally called and informed that she had gotten the job at Columbia University and went on to work there until she retired.

Bernice "GRANDMA" Tolson was the mom/grandma on the block and in the neighborhood that everyone gravitated to and loved because of her warm and soothing demeanor. She just made everything seem like it was going to be alright, no matter how good or bad, big or small, it was going to be ok. It didn't matter if you were young or old, man or woman, chick or child, to know Grandma was to love her! If you met Bernice, you were not going anywhere and you had a friend in her for life. She meant a lot to different people for different reasons. She didn't bite her tongue and she told it like it was. If you were wrong, she wouldn't embarrass you right then, but rest assured that when she got you by yourself, you were going to know that you were wrong. Also, what made her extra special was the fact that she was conscious of when to have boundaries. If you were in trouble, grandma was your go to person. If you needed someone to talk to, grandma was there. If you needed something, grandma was there. She would help you as best she could no matter what it was. She saw the goodness in everyone and was able to tap into this goodness. Bernice just had a way of bringing people together.

Bernice had an unrelenting love for music and could sing a little too in her younger days. She loved playing pity pat, going to the casino, doing puzzles, spending time on her tablet playing games and instant messaging with friends and family. Grandma was very family oriented and will deeply be missed by everyone whose life she touched. She was the person you could tell your deepest darkest secret and you knew that your secret was safe with her and now she will be taking it with her. Grandma is the true definition of what a mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, and friend is. She is love! The family would also like to extend their thanks and gratitude to grandma's long-time aide Tina, you are one of us! She grew up knowing who Jesus was, but she would re-commit herself to Jehovah as an adult.

She is survived by children; Diana (Hayward) Tolson Harris, Patricia (Marguerita Johnson) Tolson, Michael (Debbie) Tolson, Leila Tolson, Gail Tolson, Judy Tolson, Pamela Tolson, Annette Tolson, Kim Tolson, and David McDaniel, 30 grandchildren, 61 great grandchildren, siblings; Vivian Ewart, Amelia Fisher, Ella Mae Tolson, several nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends. She was predeceased by daughter Avon Tolson, brother Luther Tolson and sister Mary Tolson,