Obituary of Bernice Eckstein
Due to gathering size restrictions, a private family funeral mass will be held at Saint Mary’s Church in Sleepy Eye with a private interment at Saint Mary’s Cemetery. Memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers. To honor Bernice, reach out to someone in need, enjoy a DQ cone (small vanilla), delight in a rootbeer float, sip on some Baileys, or go fishing with a friend. Bernice Rosella (Krzmarzick) Eckstein, age 95, passed away peacefully in her home on Saturday, May 9, 2020. She was the daughter of Henry and Frances Krzmarzick; last survivor among twelve children; mother to four children; grandmother to fourteen and great grandmother to ten, and devoted wife to John. Bernice embraced her vocation of wife and mother with deep faith and trust in the Lord. She was married to John for 42 years, ending abruptly only because of his untimely passing in 1995. Their strong bond and faithful love was a gift to their four children. She is the cherished mother of son Bill (Kris) Eckstein; daughter Patty (Jerry) Kopel; daughter Sue (Jeff) Gazich; daughter Kay (Mark) McGuire; admired grandmother of Susan Eckstein, Steven (Kinzie) Eckstein, Michelle (Mike) Doyle, Julia (Brian) Henke, Anna Kopel, Katie (Justin) Campbell, Joseph Kopel, Mary Ann Gazich, William Gazich, Teresa Gazich, Anthony (Natalie) Gazich, John (Margaret) McGuire, James McGuire, Clare McGuire; and adored great grandmother of Evelyn and Ayla Eckstein, Maxwell and Matilda Doyle, Addison, Lukas and Thomas Henke, Isaac and Micah Simmering, and James McGuire. Born and raised in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, Bernice graduated from Saint Mary’s High School in 1942. Her skills led her to work at General Mills in Minneapolis, to serve as legal secretary for L.A. Kunz and Berens & Rodenberg Law Firms in New Ulm, and to provide business support to her husband John’s veterinary practice. She was a member of the Council of Catholic Women, Confraternity of Christian Mothers, and a Eucharistic Minister at Saint Mary’s Church, a volunteer at the food shelf and Next 2 Nu thrift shop. Her primary vocation was being a mother -- the most loving, generous, encouraging mother -- a treasure to her children. Known fondly as “Grandma E”, she was a best friend and confidante to her grandchildren and their spouses, who always felt better after time spent talking or laughing with her, as she assured them “everything will be ok” and “whatever will be, will be”. She and John were proud to host exchange student Ronam Junqueira, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, who affectionately came to call her “mama”. She will be remembered for making hundreds of cookies and cakes which she beautifully decorated for birthdays, baptisms, confirmations, graduations, weddings and all kinds of special occasions. She maintained the importance of family ties. “Aunt Bernice” held a special place in her heart for her many Krzmarzick and Eckstein nieces and nephews. She had a fondness for the beauty of roses and tended a rose garden lovingly for many years. Receiving or giving roses always represented a sign of prayers heard or answered. Bernice cherished her Catholic faith, becoming a living model to her children and family. She showed compassion for the sick, alone and lonely, relished good friends, and was filled with great joy at every family gathering with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, especially those at the cabin on Pelican Lake in Breezy Point, MN. There she loved to fish with her family for the elusive walleye. How appropriate that her final hours were on fishing opener and Mother’s Day Weekend...dreaming of one more walleye and praying for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband John, parents, Henry and Frances Krzmarzick, brothers: Arthur Krzmarzick, Frederick Krzmarzick and Robert Krzmarzick; sisters: Sister Rosita Krzmarzick, Viola Petsche, Lucille Kotten, Gertrude Krzmarzick, Elizabeth Krzmarzick, Marcella Bollig, Hildegaard Callanan and Florence Schroepfer. She is survived by brothers-and-sisters in law Pat & Nikki Eckstein, Joann & Bill Foley and Mary Jane Eckstein.