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Life Story / Obituary
Bernadine Ann Downey passed away on May 8, 2021 after a long-term illness. Bernie was born in Joliet, Illinois on August 3, 1936. In 1946, she relocated with her family to Michigan. There she attended Nazareth Academy where she learned the fine art of eating very slowly!
Bernie and her loving husband, Marvin, just celebrated 65 years of marriage on May 5th. Theirs was the marriage everyone aspired to. While raising their four sons in Portage, Bernie sold Avon, Tupperware and then became a dedicated employee working in the cafeteria of the Portage Public Schools and the Upjohn Company. At the same time, she was devoting time to her sons' activities such as acting as scout den mother. Her sons were her pride and joy. They provided her with daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that she loved to talk and play with.
Quilting and crocheting were two of Bernie's many talents. One of her quilts was featured at Western Michigan University's Centennial celebration. Many of her quilt and crochet projects were made as donations to local community groups, including mittens made for her daughter-in-law's students.
Her family and the Church were the center of Bernie's life. She was involved in many activities and charities that were church related throughout her life. Bernie and Marvin were founding members of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Portage. She was involved in Ministry Formation, the Cursillo Movement, and served as a Eucharistic Minister. They spent their last years at St. Thomas More in Kalamazoo.
Her family and friends will remember her for her infectious giggle, her love of popcorn, the wonderful sisters' trips, and of course, stops at the casino. Her joyful spirit and strength will be truly missed.
Bernie was preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Agnes Kuchmek; her brothers, Al and Frank Kuchmek; and her son, Brian.
She is survived by her husband, Marvin; sons: Larry (Nancy), of Kalamazoo, Mark of Kalamazoo and Garry (Stephanie) Brewerton of New York; grandchildren: Frank (Wendy) Downey, Patty (Bobby) Gross, Carmen (Brian) Harris, James (Erika) Croft, Megan (Chris) Wight, Anna Croft, Sarah (Justin) Crossway, Cecelia Downey, Kerry Downy, Sean (Lindsay) Downey, Alex Downey and many great grandchildren. Funeral Arrangements are currently pending.