Bernita Marlene Liberatore, beloved and treasured wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend passed away at the age of 87 on April 4, 2020, at her home in LaPorte, Indiana. She was born on March 26, 1933, as the second child of Elmer & Evonda Kale in Richwood, Ohio.
Shortly after graduating from Byhalia High School, Bernita worked as secretary at the Mount Victory School, then worked at Economy Savings & Loan Bank in Marion, Ohio. On May 6, 1956, she married Dominic Joseph Liberatore. They were a loving and happily married couple for over 57 years, until Dominic passed away on September 8, 2013. Dominic & Bernita resided in LaPorte, Indiana since 1978, where Dominic had completed his 38.5 year career with JC Penney Company as the local store manager. In addition to her full devotion to Dominic and their children, Bernita worked as an elementary school librarian (Auburn, Indiana) and school media resource director (Ft. Madison, Iowa). Bernita enjoyed a successful 15-year career as a real estate agent-broker in LaPorte inspiring her son, Michael, to follow in her footsteps. She also selflessly gave in extraordinary measures of her time and treasure to her church and to serving the needy in her community.
Bernita and Dominic were visionaries and doers. Their passions sprung from their deep Christian faith reflected in humility and constant, selfless love for one another, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family, as well as their church, friends and community. Bernita was a member of the LaPorte First United Methodist Church for 41 years where Dominic and Bernita planned and helped launch the church’s contemporary worship service 20 years ago which they deeply treasured for the remainder of their lives. Bernita actively assisted Dominic in the founding and development of numerous community service programs, including Lions Alert (providing emergency alert service for more than 240 elderly in LaPorte County), Meals on Wheels, and Fort LaPlay Porte. After Dominic’s passing, Bernita actively continued her extensive and meaningful volunteer service with the church, the Lions Alert program and the LaPorte Hospital Auxiliary.
Bernita was preceded in death by Dominic Joseph Liberatore (husband of 57+ years) and two siblings (Richard Kale and DeLynn Kale). Gloria Cunningham of Marysville, Ohio is her only surviving sibling.
Bernita is also survived by her loving children: Michael (Joann) Liberatore of LaPorte, Indiana; Joseph (Cheryl) Liberatore of Chesapeake, Virginia; Nita (Jim) Gafken of Brownwood, Texas; and Greg (Lori) Liberatore of Jacksonville, Florida. Dominic & Bernita were blessed with 15 grandchildren: Ashley, Adam, Danielle, Michelle, Tyler, Zachery, Erin, John Michael, Kara, Gregory, Shawn, Taylor, Christian, Courtney, and Hunter; and 19 great grandchildren. Above all, Bernita is deeply and infinitely treasured by her entire family as the ultimate role model of a Christian, who expressed boundless love as a wife, mother, grandparent, faithful church member, friend and selfless community volunteer. Bernita valued everyone as a treasured child of God which allowed her to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds. She faithfully prayed daily for each family member, as well as for countless others.
A memorial service celebrating Bernita’s life will be held at a future date to be determined at the LaPorte First United Methodist Church, 1225 Michigan Avenue, LaPorte, Indiana. The family will be greeting friends and relatives at the church after the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Bernita’s honor be made to one of the following organizations: LaPorte First United Methodist Church, 1225 Michigan Avenue, LaPorte, Indiana 46350 (http://www.laportefumc.org/), The Salvation Army Food Pantry, 3240 Monroe St., LaPorte, IN 46350 (https://feedindiana.org/food-pantries/salvation-army-laporte-food-pantry), or LaPorte County Meals on Wheels, 301 East 8th St, Ste 110, Michigan City, In 46360 (https://www.laportecountymealsonwheels.org/).
Please share prayers, condolences, and memories with the family at Essling Funeral Home.com.
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