Bernadine M. Schlegel (Knoeck), 85, of La Crosse died Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 at her home surrounded by her loving family.
Bernie was born on February 10th, 1931 to Gerhard & Helen Knoeck (Dricken) in Barton, WI.
At a hometown dance in 1948, Bernie met the love of her life, Charles Schlegel. They were wed October 15th, 1949 in Barton, WI. Bernie would go on to spend the next 30 years raising her family with Chuck until his passing in 1978. Chuck joined the Navy in 1948 as a young man and served on the USS New Jersey battleship during the Korean War. Chuck and Bernie spent their time in 1949 and 1950 living and exploring Newport, Rhode Island, Boston, Massachusetts, Ocean View, Virginia, and Brooklyn, New York. In 1953 and 1957 she gave birth to her two sons, Ron and Randy, in Newburg, New York. Shortly thereafter, Chuck and Bernie relocated their family to La Crosse, WI, which was located between their two hometowns of Harding, MN and Barton, WI. Their daughter, Diane, was born in the spring of 1959. As a family, the five of them hopped in Chuck`s single engine airplane to travel the country. The kids` fondest memories involve getting the airplane stuck in a snow bank, getting the plane started in -20 temperatures, and trips all around the country. Bernie was his co-pilot in the skies. She ran the radio and guided his navigation.
After Chuck`s passing, Bernie spent the next 38 years honoring the traditions and activities that her and Chuck had enjoyed together. Those who knew her best were drawn to her easy personality, her affinity for travel and adventure, and for the love she cast on her numerous children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Her adventures took her quite often to Acapulco, Mexico. Her charm resonated through the country and she built herself a group of friends that became her second family. She adventured to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. She spent time in Boston and revisited the east coast, where her and Chuck made memories in all the coastal cities that they adventured in during his time in the Navy. As time went on, she was happiest visiting the family cottage in northern Wisconsin, and surrounding herself with the beautiful family that she created, nurtured, and raised over the decades. She enjoyed cooking, gardening, sewing, doing crossword puzzles, watching her “stories,” and cocktail hour.
She is survived by her 3 children: Ron Schlegel (Wendy), Randy Schlegel, and Diane Branson (Dick), her brother Gerald Knoeck (Jane), and daughter in law Lori Milke. Her grandchildren: Chris Schlegel (Heidi), Ryan Schlegel, Karen Peterson (Jeff), Corey Schlegel (Sarah), Mark Branson (Andrea), Chuck Schlegel (Molly), Katie Schlegel (Tostin DeYoe), Quentin Schlegel, Zayne Schlegel, and 12 great grandchildren. Her great grandchildren sparked a smile and a sense of satisfaction that was evident as they played at her feet. Madison & Nathan, Jonah & Georgia, Landon, Lucas, Gabriel & Audrey, Ella & Jack, and Raelyn & Willow were the little lights of her life.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles, her parents, Gerhard & Helen, her brother Roger Knoeck, and her daughter in law, Debbie Schlegel.
The family would like to offer a special thank you to all those who provided Bernie with the best possible care and comfort measures in her final days. A heartfelt thank you to Dr. Cheri Olson and the palliative care team at Mayo Health System in La Crosse. Your role in her comfort and carrying out her final wishes will always be remembered. An enormous thank you to the staff, the nurses, and the amazing Dr. Vallie Kaprelian at Rusk County Memorial Hospital who made it possible for Bernie to travel the skies by helicopter from the cottage up north to pass her last hours at her home in La Crosse.
A visitation is planned from 5pm-7pm on Monday, June 6th at Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave. South, La Crosse, WI. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, June 7th, at Mary Mother of the Church Parish at 10:30 am, 2006 Weston St., La Crosse, WI. Rev. Brian D. Konopa will officiate. Visitation will begin at 9:30 am at the church prior to service. There will be a private burial for the family. A celebration of Bernie`s life will be held at The Waterfront at noon on Tuesday, June 7th in the Cargill Room.