Bernice Abeyta, 73, died peacefully at her home surrounded by family on February 12, 2017 in Manitou Springs, Colorado after her battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband Gil Abeyta, their seven children, her two sisters, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Bernice was born on March 9, 1943 in Quincy, Massachusetts to Florence and Harry Walkup. A military child, Bernice attended 16 different schools graduating from Manitou Springs High in 1961. At 15, Bernice first talked to her future husband, Gil, through a phone prank. They met face-to-face later at a sock hop and have been together ever since, marrying in 1962. Bernice was a beautiful, adventurous, fun-loving mother and hers was the home all the neighborhood kids wanted to visit. In July 1986, her seven-month old son, Christopher, was kidnapped from their home. Over the past 31 years, Bernice never gave up hope for the return of Christopher and through her tireless efforts made a huge impact on families whose children had disappeared or been murdered. Those families talk of Bernice's kindness, warmth and encouragement to not give up hope in the search for their children and justice. While devoting much of her time to her search for Christopher, she selflessly raised her six other children continuing to bring joy into their lives and the lives of her grandchildren. Bernice's caring spirit and love of others infused everyone around her. Her children have continued Bernice's commitment to others; advancing the search for missing children, leading fundraising activities and actively supporting the families of our troops. Bernice's spirit of giving continued by donating her body to science so others may benefit in life through her death. On behalf of Bernice, the Abeyta family would like to thank Mothers Of Murdered Youth, National Center for Missing Children, Families of Homicide and Missing Persons, and Detective Montez of the CSPD for their continued efforts in the search for her missing son. A celebration of Bernice's life will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at Colorado Springs Ivywild School, 1604 South Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, for friends and family from 2-4 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to www.gofundme.com/findchristopher .
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