20 October 2011 — Stockton, CA
Bernice Radferd Israel was born on 5 March 1915 in Missouri to William Jackson Israel and Bertha Lou Anna Wilson Israel. William and Bertha had eight children, two of whom died shortly after birth. During the 1940s, the Israel family came to California and found employment as migrant field workers. Bernice, the oldest son, was also a carpenter. They eventually settled in the San Joaquin Valley in California.
During World War II, Bernice was called to help defend his country and served in the China Burma India Theater. As an experienced carpenter, he was assigned to help build the Ledo Road (later renamed the Stilwell Road) which was to go from Ledo, Assam, India to Kunming, Yunnan, China. This was quite a feat due to the mountainous terrain, the dense jungle with its snakes, scorpions, malaria-carrying mosquitos, etc., and the constant danger of being attacked by the enemy.
After his stint in the Army, Bernice returned home to California and resumed his career as a self-employed carpenter. He was also a volunteer firefighter. He married and had four children. Bernice passed away on 29 February 1988. His family is very proud of his service to his country.