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Bernadette P. Hessling

Our beloved Bern, age 71 (previously classified information), died suddenly and  peacefully in her sleep Thursday morning, January 9, sometime between 9 and 11:30 am. Her 6-year battle with cancer peacefully and painlessly came to an end. Her bright light, unending love passed on to new life, and genuine concern for others will never come to an end. She changed Jim’s life forever the day they met  on July 2, 1969, at a picnic in Godfrey, Illinois. It was truly love at first sight for both, and as Bernie would say, “it has been a picnic ever since.” Jim and Bernie married on December 8, 1973, the evening of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Somewhat ironically, their love quickly grew and expanded eventually to give new life to 5 children. It was truly her dream come true to become a mother, a role she tackled with marvelous gusto and care. There are now 5 grandchildren (3 within the past 10 months alone), and you can only imagine her joy at every contact, picture or word from each of the grandchildren.

We cannot help to remember her genuine care and concern for the elderly and the sick. Nurtured by her early training in life, she constantly maintained this care, concern and love with the elderly, the sick and all of you who became her dear friend. I (Jim, her husband, best friend and lover for over 40 years), now truly believe her heart simply gave out after so many years of unending love, care and concern. She believed strongly in angels, guardian angels being her favorite. Now as she has become an everlasting angel rejoicing with all the heavenly choirs and saints, she leaves behind a legacy of love. She always was a living sign of the presence of Jesus, and his mother Mary, to all of us.

Mother and Grandmother to John (wife Jodie and Bryce), Patrick (wife Mindi and Tyler, Allison), Melodie (husband Chris and Ethan), Megan (grandson Jaylen), and Daniel.

We thank numerous members of the Schuster clan (still and formerly of St. Francis), friends from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Old St. Mary’s, and St. Alphonsus, as well as friends and co-workers from IBM, where she served as Executive Secretary through Manpower for 17 years. A special thanks is in order to Dr. Francis Cuevas, nurses and medical staff at Wheaton Franciscan Oncology Center for their ongoing care.

After her cremation early this week,  the following celebration of Bernie’s life and love will take place on Saturday, January 18th at St. Alphonsus  Church, 5960 W Loomis Rd, Greendale: 10 am Visitation followed by Memorial Mass at 11 am.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Bernie’s name directly to St. Alphonsus Church.


  • The Beining Family says:

    We are so sorry to hear about Bernie’s passing. We will never forget all the nice visits we had with her, Jim and of course Danny at the Oshkosh volleyball matches. Bernie always had a smile on her face and something kind and considerate to say. Danny has a lot of those same traits – which he should be very proud of. Again, we are so sorry for your loss. Bernie was a wonderful woman that will be missed by all.

    Mike, Debbie and Katie Beining

    • Jim Hessling says:

      Dear Mike, Debbie and Katie:
      I’m sorry, but just today I went on the Bruskiewitz website and noticed your remembrance. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond, but we have been somewhat flooded here.
      Thanks for your words of sympathy to us at the loss of dear Bernie.
      But even more thanks for your fond memories and thoughts about Bernie herself.
      She was one of a kind, always my best friend and soul mate. It is so wonderful now to see her life passed on to our kids and now 5 grandchildren (3 within the past year), and soon to be 6.
      My first and foremost comfort is the true faith and belief that Bernie is now resting in perfect peace and happiness with Jesus and all the saints.
      Then we all just love hearing the fond memories everyone has of Bernie. For these and for her life with us, we are forever grateful.
      If you would be so kind as to send me your email, I’d like to forward the general thanks I sent out about a week ago, along with a copy of the funeral program.
      Jim Hessling

  • Mark Piekarski says:

    My heartfelt condolences to all who knew Bernie. It’s been a long time but I have very fond memories of her from an early age. I have no doubt she positively touched many lives. May peace be with her and the Hessling family.

    • Jim Hessling says:

      Dear Mark:
      I’m so sorry it took me so long to see your remembrance. Thank you for your kind words of sympathy. But hearing about your fond memories of Bernie is even more special. Wonderful memories of Bernie come only after our faith and true belief that she is truly at home in perfect peace and joy with Jesus and all the saints, and only after my grateful thanks for being able to live my life with such a loving, caring remarkable woman. Her life now lives on in our 5 kids and now 5 grandchildren.
      Mark, if you send me your email I would be happy to send you a general note of thanks I sent to people (also posted on facebook).

  • Liz Sanders says:

    I was a friend of Bernie’s 14 years ago at IBM, or more accurately, she was a wonderful friend to me. I had the pleasure of working with her while pregnant with my second son and her support and friendship was a wonderful gift from God during a difficult pregnancy. I’m so sorry for your loss but loved seeing that her kids are doing well. She used to tell so many stories about them in High School and as children.
    I don’t know why she just popped in to my head today but I’m glad I got a chance to say what a great lady she was.

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