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Catherine H. Bernard

Catherine H. Bernard

Catherine Jean Hablas ("Katie") was born on January 18, 1933 and grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, in a large, close-knit, fiercely loyal, Catholic family. Those bonds of faith, love and family informed her life. She passed away peacefully on April 30, 2019 during a brief hospital stay after suffering a fall.

Katie met the love of her life - William ("Bill") N. Bernard - on a double date in St Paul, Minn in 1953. They married soon after, in August 1955. Bill and Katie settled into their marriage, with Katie working as a nurse and Bill as a field service engineer for Honeywell. Between 1956 and 1962, Katie gave birth to their three children, Tim, Kathleen and Mary.

During the first 5 years of their marriage, Honeywell took Bill and Katie to live in several U.S. cities, and then for two years in Japan, which fueled a wanderlust leading to many travel adventures to far flung countries across the globe. They returned to St Paul, MN in 1960, and in 1964 they moved to Willmar, MN to raise their family. Katie and Bill soon built a lake house where they hosted their friends and family over many summers. The lake house was the center of their personal lives, and it was filled with love, laughter, spirited conversation and fun!

In her professional life, Katie was a registered nurse, working in the maternity ward of several different hospitals over the years. She loved children, and she got great pleasure from caring for others. After retiring to care for her own young children, she focused on helping those most vulnerable in her community. Katie delivered meals on wheels to the sick and elderly for years, and participated in numerous church activities focused on helping others less fortunate. Katie was also an avid golfer and a talented gardener, planting beautiful gardens at the lake house. She was an inclusive person, knitting together her family and friends, fostering deep, life-long ties. She laughed easily, and was fun-loving.

Katie is survived by her devoted husband of 64 years, Bill Bernard, her children Tim, Kathleen and Mary, Kathleen's husband Tom Lynch, and her granddaughter and spouse, Shannon and Colin McClure. Katie is also survived by her siblings Mary, Annie, Fran, Ruth and Louie, and Louie's wife, Kate, as well as 18 nieces and nephews who loved her like a mother. Finally, Katie is survived by the brightest star of all in her constellation, great grandson - Logan McClure !