Died: Mon., Aug. 5, 2019


5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Fri., Aug. 16, 2019
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Sat., Aug. 17, 2019
Location: St. Rita Catholic Church

Funeral Mass

11:00 AM Sat., Aug. 17, 2019
Location: St. Rita Catholic Church

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                 Mrs. Bernice Marie Smith-Guynn was born on April 15, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the third child of Benjamin W. Smith and Serrilda C. Mayfield-Smith.  Bernice was baptized Catholic and became a faithful member of St. Rita Catholic Church.

                 Bernice began her education in the Chicago, Illinois local schools, and continued her education in Indianapolis, Indiana when her family migrated to Lockfield Gardens. She graduated from School # 4 Grade School in 1939, and from Crispus Attucks High School in 1945, Magna Cum Laude.  Bernice later served as Chairperson and souvenir program creator for her classmates’ 50th and 60th class reunions.

Bernice, soon after graduating from High School, became a part of the Camp Atterbury Military and Civilian Training Base, which served as a site for preparing military personnel and civilians for service.  During the years from 1945-1946 a portion of the camp served as an  interment compound for an estimated 15,000 soldiers. Most of them were Italian and German prisoners of war.

After serving 3 years at Camp Atterbury, Bernice, on February 7, 1948 was united in Holy Matrimony to Maurice Anthony Guynn. They were married by the associate pastor Father Raymond Gates at St. Rita Church.

St Rita Church

Bernice worked for the Indiana Department of Welfare for several years before joining the administrative staff at St. Rita church. While there, she served in many capacities; from being the church secretary, to the Chairperson of many, many successful fundraising May Festivals.

Bernice consistently and with a giving heart donated clothing, food, drinks, miscellaneous items, financial support, as well as, her time to the host of local and visiting Archbishops,  Bishops, priests, brothers, nuns, and lay personnel who also served at St. Rita Church.

Knights of St. Peter Claver - 3rd Degree

Bernice became a member March 14, 1965.  A 54 year member of Christ the King Court #97.  Served as Grand Lady of Christ the King Court #97 twice.  Silver Medal Recipient in 1988 Member of the Initiation Team for new Courts and members Chaired and Co-Chaired the By Laws Committee, while also participating in many Fund Raising activities with our Brother Knights Served on, as well as, chaired planning for Northern District  Conferences Believed in following the 3rd degree Constitution and doing it correctly, in order, and by the book.

Knights of St. Peter Claver – 4th Degree / Searcy L. Greenwell, Chapter #14 Ladies of Grace

 A Charter member of Chapter #14, Bernice was elected the 1st Navigator on Feb. 14, 1981 and served again as Navigator in 1995.  First Supreme Navigator Mattie Lampkin appointed Grand Lady Guynn to chair the first Constitution Committee for the Ladies of Grace.  Worked tirelessly at the first Conclave to get Grand Lady Marie Cavanaugh elected first Supreme Comptroller at Conclave in Detroit, Michigan.   Under Bernice’s leadership, Chapter #14 submitted the criteria for uniform of Ladies of Grace.  It was received, accepted and voted on by the body and the Sir Knights approved it at Conclave in Houston, Texas.   Established (along with Sir Knights) the Emergency Aid Society -- providing food, shelter, heat, clothing on week-ends (Friday-Sunday -- 10:00 am - 12 noon) with Sir Knights.  Chaired Scholarship committee, and was a great advocate for CCD program for our young people and promoting Catholicity.


Indianapolis Fire Department

At the time when most people are considering winding down in the work force, Bernice began her 3rd career at the  Indianapolis Fire Department in 1976.  She was a trailblazer becoming the first African-American woman to work in an administrative position there.  In her late 40’s, Bernice didn’t flinch when proposed with the challenge of repelling from a 60 foot tall tower. She retired from her service after many distinguished years in 1997.

From Scratch Cakes

As a culinary entrepreneur, Bernice founded “From Scratch” which introduced unique designs, shapes, and textures into the world of Bundt® cakes. From the arena of an artistically quaint and experienced kitchen, deliciously sinful cakes and cobblers were mixed and baked to heavenly perfection. State- of- the- art mixers, blenders, and culinary utensils added a special touch of professionalism to the art of Bernice Guynn’s 70 plus years in baking. With several flavors and designs to choose from, one was sure to find a cake and or dessert to suit every taste bud’s desire.

Bernice Marie Smith Guynn departed from this earthly life to receive her Heavenly reward on Monday, August 5, 2019, at the age of ninety-two, three months and twenty-one days.

Those left to carry on her legacy of service include daughters, Sharon, Sheila Passley, and Sandra (Tarrah); sons, Steven and Stanley; grandsons, Jason, Gary Humphrey (Brandi), Anthony, Cordell Passley, and Miles Guynn; two great grandsons, Christian and Emmanuel; five great granddaughters, London, Kenadi, Korlynn, Kasen, and Keris; brother, Aratha (Rosemary), and many, many nieces and nephews, and god-children.

She is reunited with loved ones who preceded her in death:  husband, Maurice Anthony Guynn; infant son, Vincent Eugene; parents, Benjamin and Serrilda, sister, Susie Belle Smith-Hurley and brother, George Norman 





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