Bernice Burnham Despain

March 5, 1942 – Oct. 3, 2023

Bernice Burnham Despain passed from this world on Oct. 3, 2023, surrounded by her eternal sweetheart and her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Bernice was born on March 5, 1942, in Lovell to her father, Rulon Rex Burnham Sr., and mother, Ada (Lowe) Burnham. Her family had a farm/ranch two miles east of Lovell and ranged cattle on Little Mountain in the Bighorns.

Bernice attended Lovell schools and worked on the ranch, primarily cooking, cleaning and organizing the house while her mother and father both worked. This served her well as a foundation of honest hard work and integrity throughout her whole life.

During her high school years, she met her eternal companion, Ival Johnson Despain. Once they met, there was no separating them. They were married in Lovell on Jan. 4, 1958, and later sealed in the Logan Utah Temple on Oct. 19, 1962.

Family was everything to Bernice. In the fall of 1958, they welcomed their first son, Steven Lee, and then moved to Laramie while Ival attended the University of Wyoming. They then returned to Lovell, where they welcomed Colleen in 1961. In 1969 they added their third child, another daughter, Denise, and then their fourth child, Jason, in 1975. 

During all of the places they lived in their early years, they were always surrounded by family and friends. Bernice was happiest serving, visiting and caring for those close to her. We have often said she could do more by 10 a.m. each day than most of us could do in a week. She often extended the family circle and shared her love and talents with everyone she was around.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Rex and Ada Burnham, brother Rex “Buddy” Burnham and sister Dorothy Winterholler.

Bernice is survived by her husband, Ival; children Steve (Debbie) Despain of Big Piney, Wyoming, Colleen (Craig) O’Banion of Farr West, Utah, Denise (Mike) Leffler of Boise, Idaho, and Jason (Heidi) Despain of Kemmerer, Wyoming; grandchildren Kyle, Greg, Jessica, Nathan (Irene), Lindsay (Justin), Travis (Brittani), Westin (Jade), Melissa (Alec), Nicolle (Ryland), Eliza, Amelia and Aaron; great-grandchildren Ryleigh, Amy, Charly, Jax, Whit, Mario, Mia, Elliott, Skylie, Emett, Bryah, Brooke and Lennox; brother Mel (Jeanne) Burnham; and many, many nieces and nephews. 

The most heartfelt thank you to Cody and Courtney Brown, beloved neighbors of South Weber, extended family, friends, Avamere and Inspiration Hospice.

All are welcome to a funeral memorial service that will be held Friday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, South Weber Chapel, 1401 East South Weber. Friends may visit with family on Friday from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the church. Interment will be at the Uintah Cemetery, 1500 East 6450 South.

Services will be live-streamed and available the day of the services by scrolling to the bottom of Bernice’s obituary page at, where condolences may also be shared.