Obituary of Bernice Reyes- Akinbileje
Bernice Sindía Reyes-Akinbileje was born on January 22, 1957 in Brooklyn, New York to the late Raimundo H. Reyes and Bettie D. Shields Reyes. She was raised with four siblings, Angelita D. Reyes, Raimundo M. Reyes (deceased), Glenn E. Reyes, and Thurston G. Reyes.
Her marriage to Steve O. Akinbileje on August 31, 1991 produced two children, Abayomi S. Akinbileje and Oluwakemi G. Akinbileje.
Bernice held a M.A. in Nutrition and Dietetics from New York University and a B.S. in Dietetics from the State University of New York at Oneonta.
As an analyst in health resources and services in the Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, Bernice advanced a variety of national policy issues over her remarkable thirty-year career. Her analytical focus included issues impacting Medicare, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), and programs that advocate for more doctors and nurses to practice in underserved communities.
Most recently Bernice focused on initiatives that include telehealth and telemedicine, which enable primary care providers to apply new technologies to bridge the gap in treating patients who live in remote areas; organ donation and procurement programs; and health workforce initiatives for minority and underrepresented groups. One of her colleagues shared, “She was a wonderful co-worker and colleague and she will be missed by everyone in her department here at the Library of Congress.
As a member of Heritage Fellowship Church in Reston, VA, Bernice actively participated in several ministries that included the Intercessory Prayer Ministry and the Women’s Ministry. She also served for 10 years as a devoted and enthusiastic Girl Scout Leader; and was a dedicated supporter of Literacy InterActives, Inc., which sponsors the Parker Sydnor historic preservation log cabin project in Mecklenburg County, VA.
Bernice was an exceptionally kind person and always had beautiful words of encouragement and prayer for those in need. Her exuberance and unrelenting faith brought about a true level of comfort. As a strong believer, her commitment to serving God resonated with sound advice and wisdom. She made every effort to follow the path of a true saint, even when the challenges of life could have overtaken her or when she had been “ ‘buked [rebuked] and scorned.” Bernice always believed in the WORD of God, which she knew would bring vitality and comfort to every circumstance.
More than anything, Bernice will be remembered for the constancy of her optimism, her encouragement of others, her strong faith, and her beautiful smile that was always available on a moment’s notice.
Our beloved Nici will be dearly missed by her loving family, which includes her husband, Steve; her son, Yomi and her daughter, Kemi; her sister, Dr. Angelita D. Reyes; two brothers: Glenn E. Reyes (and Irene) and Thurston G. Reyes; two nieces: Alexandria J. Reyes and Xiamara B. Reyes; three nephews: Tutankhamen M. Reyes, Raimundo M. Reyes, and Glenn A. Reyes; a host of aunts and uncles that include Janeth Shields Mosely, Larry D. Shields, Nanda Reyes Martinez, Africa Morales, and Emelda Reyes Rocha; a host of first cousins and other extended family members in the United States, Honduras, England, and Nigeria; and loving friends and wonderful colleagues.