Bernardine (Bernie) C. Harris

Resided in Gladstone, MI
Died May 8, 2020

Bernardine “Bernie” C. Harris, age 89, of Gladstone, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at her home on Friday evening, May 8, 2020.

Bernie was born December 12, 1930, in Saginaw, MI, the daughter of Emerich and Apolonia (Kubovich) Puchel. Her parents came over from Czechoslovakia at the turn of the 20th century, raising their children in Saginaw. Bernie graduated from Arthur Hill High School in 1948. Soon after she met and married Donald Harris and they lived in many states while enlisted in the Marines, but she always considered the UP “home”. Even when her marriage ended and she was hundreds of miles from her family, she continued to stay in “God’s country”.

After arriving in Gladstone in 1961, she was given the opportunity to “job shadow” at the Gladstone Area Public Library. Soon thereafter she was offered a full-time position and never left, retiring in 1992. Bernie appreciated her employer and you never heard her complain about her job or call in sick, a dedication to hard work that she passed on to her children. When she wasn’t volunteering, her favorite place was her garden, she loved to play in the dirt!

For someone who never owned a car, she was always on the go! Volunteering meant so much to her – she offered her services to the OSF Auxiliary, Friends of the Gladstone Library, All Saints RCIA leader and so many other church activities, as well as many trips to Honduras to help the children.

Bernie’s friends meant the world to her — every Monday night for coffee at Peggy Reese’s and going to Karen Bratonia’s camp. She held all of her friendships near to her heart.

Bernie is survived by: 4 Sons: Don Harris of Gladstone, MI
Patrick (Christy) Harris of Algoma, WI Bernard Harris of Gladstone, MI Bert Harris of Gladstone, MI 1 Daughter: Sue (Jim) Helgemo of Escanaba, MI
12 Grandchildren 6 Great Grandchildren.
In addition to her many nieces and nephews, she is survived by her special nieces Kathy Harris and Paula Saunders and nephew, Mike Puchel.

In addition to her Parents, Bernie is preceded in death by brothers: Al, Lou, and Frank Puchel And sisters: Mary, Ernestine, and Helen.
Family will be holding a private visitation. Family and friends are invited to virtually attend closing prayers on Monday, May 18, 2020 at 5:00 PM. Please visit the link to join: Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 1:00 PM at the All Saints Catholic Church in Gladstone. Bernie will be laid to rest in the Rapid River Cemetery. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting the Harris family. If you would like to make a donation in Bernie’s name, please consider the Friends of the Gladstone Library or OSF St. Francis Hospital Auxiliary. Envelopes will be available at All Saints Church.

27 Tributes for “Bernardine (Bernie) C. Harris

    Bert and Family! So Sorry to hear about the Loss of your Mother. She was so Special and I always looked forward to visiting with her when I saw her at the Library. You are in my Thoughts and Prayers.

    Don, Pat, Bernard, Bert, and Sue,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved mother. She was an amazing woman and I had so much love and admiration for her. I have so many fond memories of her, but what I think about the most was her loyal friendship to my parents. They truly appreciated her continued visits after my moms stroke, and for that I will always be grateful. She will be missed by all who knew her.

    My deepest sympathy to Bernie’s family. She was a woman of deep faith and loving action, a loyal and longtime member of All Saints Parish Family, and a dear neighbor to me for twelve years. May She Rest In Peace. Father Jed Patrick

    Dear Bernie and family,
    Dave and I are saddened to read of the passing of your Mom. We so enjoyed reading the article in the Daily Press in April where she was enjoying coffee with her friend following social distancing requirements. It brought back many happy memories of visits with her in the library or wherever our paths would cross. Know that we are thinking of you and wish we could join you in her celebration of life but will be unable to with the current restrictions.
    Much love,
    Jeanne and Dave Wescott

    Pat & family, I was reading the online paper and saw your Mom passed away. We are very sorry for your loss! Bernie was a great lady & former neighbor! May she RIP!

    To the family of Bernie Harris,
    Bernie and I worked at Gladstone Schools, and my husband and I are members of the Friends of the Gladstone Library. Our daughter and family lived as her next door neighbor since January 2020. She welcomed them and it was my delight to know my Hansen family so enjoyed her friendship, sharing of cookies, etc. My connection goes way back to when Bernie attended school with my Aunt Jane and knew my mother too (Saginaw, Mi.) I am pleased she was so faithful to her church. I regret not being able to attend her services; however I am comforted in knowing she left with having her family and Father Jamie praying for her. It is also comforting in knowing she will be laid to rest at Rapid River Cementery.

    I am so sorry for your loss. Bernie was a wonderful friend … my first friend when I moved to Gladstone. She was always there to help me with my daughter, who was only two, and became a loving helper when I had my second daughter.
    When she wasn’t at work, we would coffee clatch at my house or hers.
    She will be missed.

    Dearest Sue, Don, Patrick, Bert and Bernard, I am grieving with you all on the passing of your precious mother who was my mentor, my hero, and my mother, too, all of my life. We will all miss her terribly but know she is with us all until we can meet her in Heaven. What a party THAT is going to be! love you all forever, Paula

    Sue and family,

    So sorry about the passing of your mom. She was a true and faithful icon at All Saints. Even when we visited from out of town she was always that familiar face at church. I also had the chance to work under her at the Library while in school. I always respected and admired your mom to the fullest. Deepest condolences and prayers for all of you.

    Don, Pat, Bernard, Bert & Sue,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom was such a good person. She was easy-going and easy-to-like. Your dear mother will always be remembered as a gentle woman who was kind to everyone. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Don,Pat, Bernard,Bert, and Sue
    When my Dad’s job change brought us to Gladstone it was your Mom and all of you that made the move more like a homecoming. Your Mom was very sweet and loving and welcomed me into your home. My wife Diane and and I left Gladstone for a number of years, and when we returned your Mom recognized me in a store. She was pleased to know that we were back in Gladstone. She will always hold a special place in my heart.
    Love to you all,
    Barry and Diane Danhoff

    Not until each loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly,
    will God unroll the pattern and explain the reason why,
    the dark threads are as needful in the weavers skillful hand –
    as the threads of Gold and Silver
    for the pattern which he planned.
    Bernie will be greatly missed.

    Don,Pat,Bernard,Bert ,and Sue.
    When my Dad’s career path landed us in Gladstone, you and your Mom were one of the first families we met. Your Mom was very sweet and loving and made our move feel like a homecoming. She always welcomed me into your home, and treated me like I was one of her own kids. After Diane and I moved our family back to Gladstone we met your Mom in a store, and she was very pleased to know that we had moved back. I will always have a special place in my heart for her.
    Love to you all,
    Barry and Diane Danhoff

    Bernie and family – haven’t had the pleasure of visiting with your mom in years, the memories are great and I always respected her work ethic. She set a great example for so many people. Our thoughts are with you – Dan & Julie

    My deepest sympathy to the Harris family. Enjoyed not only working with your mom but also being her neighbor. She was a special lady.

    Thank you all for your kind words about our mother, she truly was an amazing role model. Her faith is what carried her thru all of the challenges life brought her, never letting us kids know anything was wrong. I will miss her every day and am so thankful to have been blessed with nearly 60 years of her gentle words and endless smiles. May we all lead by the example she gave us: Practicing our faith and loving one another, helping those in need and enjoying the littlest things in life (those might be the best parts of our day). I am preparing to say goodbye in the next two days, but I am absolutely not ready, I will miss you so!

    It should be so easy to write a tribute for Bernie, but I am finding it so very hard to do. Bernie was one of the kindest people I have ever met. She was so good to me and had faith in me, even when I had lost faith in myself. She loved our adopted sons as though they were born to us, and visited Thomas often when he needed it most.

    I think about all the time she spent with me after I moved to my townhouse in Coconut Creek. Sometimes, she was in Florida 2 months in the fall and 2 months in the winter, which meant it was 1/3 of the year! Later it changed to just the winter, but I so looked forward to it. All my neighbors in this development knew her well, especially Peggy, who took her church each week. We did everything together when she was here. When I went out with my girlfriends, she came with us – all my friends know who Bernie is. We talked about many things, too, and some of the things she shared were quite a surprise.

    When she could no longer come to visit me, I let 2 years go by before I went to visit her. I have some guilt about that, but am so glad I was able to spend a week with her last year in May and again in July. It felt almost like old times. Since then, we only talked by phone and when she started taking a turn for the worse, I would talk to Bernard or Bert. I have so many, many memories of Bernie, as well as pictures from over the years. I also still find things in her handwriting in the kitchen, like when she was using her own method of counting calories at meals, or writing recipes, or notes to remind her of things. Those things make me smile.

    Bernard, Pat, Don, Bert and Sue: Thank you so much for letting me share your mother for all these years. In this crazy world, for an “ex” to be part of a family is something I will always be grateful for. Bernie was never a replacement for my mother; she was my best buddy and my heart is aching. I wish I could be there for her service, but with COVID and Quarantine, it just isn’t possible. I am sending my love to you all.

    Dearest family of Bernie,
    I met your mom after I was hired in the Gladstone School System. What a GREAT ADDITION she was to the area in soooo many ways. Always so very friendly even if for the very first time and ALWAYS SO HELPFUL when you needed her assistance in the library. The Lord certainly adds another angel up in heaven with her passing. Prayers for your family as you As you morn her loss. I’ve lost my parents several years ago BUT LAWAYS REMEMBER THAT SHE IS ALWAYS JUST A THOUGHT AWAY!!!!!

    Don, Pat, Bernard, Bert, and Sue, I’ve always had such a tremendous amount of respect, and admiration for your mom. I think back to the days she work in the library, and she was the calm, in the middle of the storm. Bernie always took the time to listen to each person, no matter their troubles. She will be sorely missed.

    Sorry to hear about Bernie, she will be missed by many, a lovely lady. Sorry I wont make the mass for Bernie, heading to GB to take care of my granddaughter just having surgery.. Did send a mass to All Saints for Bernie. Sympathy and prayers to the family

    Don, Pat, Bernard, Bert & Sue,
    So sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. I know your mom from All Saints Church. She helped out in SO MANY ways, She is considered as a pillar of our church and a great example for us to follow. Your family will be in our prayers.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep: l am not there. l do not sleep. l am a thousand winds that blow. lam the diamond glint on snow. l am the sun on ripened grain. l am the gentle autumn rain. When you awake in the morning hush, I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circling flight.I am the soft starlight at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; l am not there. I did not die. by Mary Elizabeth Frye We love and miss her many memories of her and my mom. Chris and Rick wilso

    My sincere condolences to the Harris Family. I had the pleasure of working with “Bernie” at GHS. She was alway positive, professional and fun. She was rightly proud of her kids. I coached Pat and Bernie- great athletes and fine men.
    We were all blessed by the life of Mrs. Harris.

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