Benkert, Bernadine, Saginaw, Michigan


Passed away Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at St. Francis Home, age 87 years. Bernadine Boensch was born in Indiantown, MI March 22, 1924 the daughter of the late Joseph and Helen (Bohman) Boensch. When Bernadine entered St. Francis Home, she was asked about her life history. She replied, “I’ve had an interesting life”. She was born and raised on a farm in Buena Vista Township. She attended a country school in Indiantown. Bernadine graduated from St. Joseph High School at the age of 16. Upon graduating from the Business Institute in Saginaw a year later, she went to work at City Hall for 6 months, making a card file on all purchases the City of Saginaw made. She also filled in as a telephone switchboard operator. Leaving City Hall, she went to work for a CPA, Earl Timm. At the age of 20, Bernadine enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WACs). That was an interesting 2 years. She went over to Europe right after VE Day. She spent 13 months in France, part of the time in Rheims and the rest of the time in Paris. On the trip over it took 11 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean. She was on the lead ship in the convoy. It only took 9 days to come back. She arrived back in the United States on July 4, 1946 at Staten Island, N.Y. She got her discharge and went back to work 6 weeks after arriving back home. Bernadine’s brother, Joseph, introduced her to her future husband, Nick at the Golden Glow Ballroom, a popular place for people to go dancing in those days. After just 4 dates, Nick said to her, “Let’s get married some day”. That was the beginning of December, 1946. They only dated one day a week. They dated until September, 1948. Then Nick picked out a date and place and told her they would get married on November 20, 1948. She always wanted to marry a farmer like her Dad and her dream came true on that day. They proceeded to have 14 children in just less than 20 years. They had no twins or multiple births. This was two more than the 12 that Bernadine had told her mother at the tender age of 5 that she wanted to have some day. She ran a peritoneal dialysis machine for her husband, in their home for 9 months until his death on February 21, 1980. Then she said she started being a bum. She had sons in Arizona and in Idaho, plus a daughter in Washington State that she flew out to see many times. She also went with a son to Hawaii. Bernadine loved to travel. She has been to over 30 states in her travels. Jeannette Sherman has been her best friend for 70 years and they continued to visit on a regular basis. She experienced one of life’s ironies with her move to St. Francis Home. Her roommate was none other than her high school best friend, Barbara Frost. Bernadine is survived by eight sons and six daughters, Nicholas J. (Pam) Benkert, Bernadette (Marc) Bingham, Lawrence Benkert, Thomas (Tamara) Benkert, Eileen (John) Cieszlak, Daniel Benkert, Kathleen (David) Eichler, Lorraine (Timothy) Wozniak, Paul (Vicky) Benkert, Peter (Irene Basaldua) Benkert, Ruth (Mark) Rivette, Barbara (John) Pitts, Anthony Benkert, Brian Benkert. Bernadine was blessed with an abundance of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is also survived by a brother, Robert (Yvonne) Boensch and a sister-in-law, Agnes Benkert. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by a brother, Joseph (Jean) Boensch; two brothers-in-law, Michael and Lawrence Benkert; five sisters-in-law, Ernestine (Tom) Hart, Loretta Benkert, Helen (Walter) Lach, Esther (Albert) Hollenback and Anna Benkert. The funeral liturgy will take place on Monday, August 8, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at SS Peter &Paul Catholic Church, 4735 W. Michigan Ave. Burial will be in St. Andrew Cemetery with military services under the auspices of VFW Post No. 1859. Friends may call at W. L. Case & Company, 4480 Mackinaw Road, Saturday from 3:00 – 9:00 p.m.; Sunday from 2:00 – 9:00 p.m. where they may join the family for a rosary at 7:00 p.m. and at church on Monday from 9:00 a.m. until time of the service. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a donation to SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church. www.casefuneralhome.com