Berniece Laresta Perry was born October 7, 1915 on the Modisett Ranch, south of Rushville Nebraska, to Harry and Agnes Perry. She had one sister, Lavina, who was seven years older. The family moved from Rushville to Eli in 1924 by train with all their belongings and livestock. She grew up and attended school in Eli through the ninth grade. Laresta boarded in Gordon and attended Gordon High School, graduating with the class of 1933. After high school she attended Chadron Normal College.