Leading a successful, diversified career for many years, Bernice M. Barris retired at the pinnacle of her career as a drilling company executive and president of ABC Drilling in 1987 after five years in her role, inheriting the business after her husband passed away. She formerly spent 25 years as secretary of Hupp Well and Pump in Cleveland. Now retired, Ms. Barris also worked simultaneously as a private practice nurse in Cleveland for many years. As a teenager, she was initially looking to become a nurse because, at the time, people were required to become a registered nurse in order to move up to a flight attendant position.
Among her numerous civic and community activities, Ms. Barris most notably contributed much of her time singing. A member of her local church choir since her early youth, she later belonged to a local women’s group in Ohio, which ultimately led to her serving as a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus for 25 years. She also had the opportunity to sing with other church choirs, as well as the Mansfield Civil Chorus and the Lake County Chorus. Other activities have included serving on the board of managers of the Rainey Institute, an art school in Cleveland, volunteering with the American Red Cross first aid and serving as the president of the Child Care Association in Cleveland. Furthermore, Ms. Barris is a former lieutenant of the Mobil Corps Major Civil Air Patrol.
An alumnus of Cuyahoga Community College, Ms. Barris first acquired an Associate of Science in real estate in 1976. She soon after received an Associate of Arts in 1977, an Associate of Science in aviation in 1978 and an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1979. She is a licensed real estate agent and commercial pilot, and a registered nurse. Being a pilot has made her realize that we are much closer to God than we realize; there is nothing like flying above the clouds and thinking that there is Earth beneath you. Ms. Barris recalls one occasion where her, her husband and his mother, and her grandson were flying to Florida from Cleveland, where they were being misdirected until a flight attendant steered her in the right direction.
In her free time, Ms. Barris is an active member of the National Flight Nurses Association. A celebrated Marquis listee, she has been showcased in the 21st edition of Who’s Who in the Midwest. Ms. Barris feels she has grown by learning to deal with people and taking over when necessary, as well as doing all of the hiring and employee management. She found this a challenge since her field was a male-dominated industry at the time and she has needed to make adjustments to get things done.