Bernardine ‘Bernie’ C. Harris

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

Bernie was born Dec. 12, 1930, in Saginaw, Mich., 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 U.P. “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 four sons, Don Harris of Gladstone, Mich., Patrick (Christy) Harris of Algoma, Wis., Bernard Harris of Gladstone, Mich., Bert Harris of Gladstone, Mich.; one daughter, Sue (Jim) Helgemo of Escanaba, Mich.; 12 Grandchildren, six 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, at 5 p.m. Please visit the link to join: https://bit.ly/2AaoPoD. Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, at 1 p.m. 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.

Please visit www.skradskifuneralhomes.com where you can leave a message of condolence to the 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.