Bernadine Lillian Bagnall (nee Powers) passed away on Sept. 27, 2021 surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was born February 7, 1931 in Chicago, IL. Al and Bernie were married in Chicago in 1954 and moved to Tucson in 1959 where they raised their children.
Mom’s greatest treasure was her family. She was very proud of her six children (all Salpointe and UA graduates) and seven grandchildren. She loved her trips to Chicago to see her relatives – 153 members at last count – celebrating every holiday with her children and grandchildren, being the life of the party at any family gathering, having a good Manhattan at the end of a long day, making phone calls to all of her loved ones on a regular basis (the grandkids still have voicemails from her – “Hi, it’s just grandma. Give me a call when you get a chance”), offering advice to those who may not have listened then, but know today that she was right and teaching us all how to be a better person.
Mom bought a childcare center, The Little White Schoolhouse, after our father passed away. “Miss Bernie” was famous for her great field trips to the museums, swimming pool, movie theatre, bowling alley and skating rink during summer break. She treated the children like they were her own and was seen many times driving them home at night because their parents’ car broke down, bringing extra food for those who didn’t have much in their school lunch boxes and paying for field trips for those who couldn’t afford it. She wanted every child to be warm and well-fed. She retired after 11 years but her desire to help children didn’t end there. She began volunteering at the St. Joseph’s Catholic School lunch program. All of her children and three of her grandchildren attended St. Joseph’s. “The Lunch Lady,” as she was known, loved talking to the students as they picked up their hot lunch each day and made friends with the volunteer moms at the school. Mom was “The Lunch Lady” for 20 years and was even honored during a school Mass for her years of dedication. Mom was many things to many people. Her life wasn’t always easy, but you never heard her complain. She taught all of us to be strong, achieve and give back to others.
She loved baseball and was a huge fan of the Diamondbacks and Cubs - win or lose. For years, she travelled all over the state to see Jim’s teams play. She kept score on a little notepad because she didn’t trust the scoreboard. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention her love for John Wayne. She had so many photos of the Hollywood actor in her home that the grandchildren once thought he was their grandfather!
When her health declined two years ago and she didn’t want to move out of her home, we (including granddaughter Kayla) all banded together and took care of her 24/7. It was no easy feat, but we did it – we treated her like the queen she was to us. It wasn’t what we did for her, but rather what she taught us to do for a loved one in need. It was a labor of love and we wouldn’t take back a second of it. It’s time to rest now, Mom, and enjoy your family in Heaven because they’ve been waiting for you.
She is survived by her children, Maureen (Carl) Wolfston, Susan (the late Rod) Jackson, Jeanne (Jim) Leon, Jim (Andrea) Bagnall, Colleen (Jon) Perra and Eileen Bagnall; along with her grandchildren, Kayla, Morgan, Alexander, Lindsey, Samuel, Claire and Kelly and her beloved sister, Kay (late Weston) Parker. She was preceded in death by her parents Dennis and Nellie Powers; her husband, Al, and her brothers Thomas, Edward, Dennis and Richard and sisters Lorie, Anne and Eileen and her best friend, Marie McLaughlin.
Visitation is Friday, October 8th 5 – 8 p.m. at Bring’s Broadway Chapel 6910 E. Broadway and will be livestreamed. Go to www.bringfuneralhome.com and click on her obituary for the link:
A Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, October 9th 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church 215 S. Craycroft Rd.
In lieu of flowers, checks can be written to “St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Tucson” and mailed to 215 S. Craycroft Rd. Tucson, AZ 85711 (520) 747-3060