Bernadine (Bernie)'s Story

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Bernadine (Bernie) Cielesz went to be with our Lord on March 5, 2018. She was born on April 20, 1931, to Joseph and Mary Zabawski in Nanticoke, PA. Bernadine married Leonard Cielesz on June 25, 1949; and they relocated to Harrisburg, PA, a few years later. In 1965, Bernie and her husband and four daughters moved to Norman, OK, where she lived until her death. Bernadine and Leonard were married for 57 years until his death in 2006.
Everyone speaks a different love language and Bernie communicated her love through acts of service. Whether it was as a sister, cousin, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother, or just a friend, Bernie lived her faith through her life of service. In addition to being a homemaker, Bernie served the many people of Norman, Oklahoma. She served adults and their families as a beloved waitress in many restaurants; she served children as a cafeteria worker; and she served the community as a greeter in the Moore, OK, Wal-Mart, where she would pass out smiles and happy face stickers to all who visited. Most recently, she served those with whom she lived at Arbor House, whether it was assisting residents to their rooms and various events or helping newcomers acclimate to their surroundings. Bernie's favorite song was "You Are My Sunshine" and her acts of service ensured that she was that sunshine to all of those around her.
Bernadine was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard; her parents; brother, Leo Zabawski and sisters, Sylvia Piecka and Theresa Pinkowski; son-in-law, Larry Christol; and great granddaughter, Emerson Ivy Richards.
She is survived by her four daughters: Jane Richards of Shreveport, LA; Joan Colley and her husband, Wayne, of Norman, OK; Paula Christol of Orlando, FL, and Pam Cielesz and her partner Bill Hicks of Fort Meade, MD; seven grandchildren: Renee Hanshaw and husband Scott, Jennifer Frazier, Laura Sherry and husband Tim, Traci Kiosterud and husband Rob, T.J. Richards and wife Madison, Alison Christian and husband Nick, and Kyle Christol; eleven great grandchildren: Bobby, Brandon, Brooks, and Baily Graves; Lauren and Easton Kiosterud; Wyatt, C.J., and Sawyer Sherry; Brittain Richards; and Kennady Christian; and one great-great grandchild, Bella Graves.
Bernie's daughters would like to thank Arbor House, and all the employees and residents there, for giving Bernie a "Wonderful Life" since she moved there in December of 2015. Bernie always told us how much she loved Arbor House and how happy she was there. We would also like to extend an extra special thank you to Rev. Brown for all his visits and prayers while Bernie was in the hospital. And thank you so much to the doctors, nurses, and chaplain at Norman Regional Hospital that treated Bernie and for the special care that they gave to her during those last difficult days. Your kindness was truly appreciated.
Bernie requested that there would be no formal funeral. There will be a memorial service, at a later date to celebrate her life.
Arrangements entrusted to Primrose Funeral Service, Norman, OK. Sign the online guestbook at primrosefuneralservice.com.
Published on March 8, 2018
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