Elizabeth “Liz” Bernel, 1951-2018

Elizabeth Ann Bernel, 67, of Findlay, Ohio, passed away Friday, August 17, 2018, of complications from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

She was born August 1, 1951, in Richmond, Va., to Miriam S. and J. Allen Bernel, who preceded her in death. Also preceding her in death was a sister, Lynda L. Bernel Kudlicka.

Survivors include her life partner, Michael Winkler of Findlay, Ohio; brother, Jeffrey A. (Kathryn) Bernel of Granger, Ind., and formerly of LaPorte; nephew, Nicholas J. Bernel of Washington, D.C.; niece, Laurel L. Bernel of Los Angeles, Cal.; twin nieces Kristen and Nicole of Massachusetts; and nephews Peter and John Allen Bernel Kudlicka of Massachusetts and New York. 

Liz graduated high school from the Buffalo Seminary, Buffalo, N.Y., and from the University of Wyoming with a BS degree in zoology. She also received a master’s degree in education from Buffalo State Teachers College, Buffalo, N.Y., as well as a master’s degree in telecommunication from University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.

She was an operations training manager, Level 3 communication, in Denver, Co., prior to her death. She had previously worked as a zoologist for the Buffalo Zoological Gardens and also taught high school biology in Denver.

Liz was a woman of many interests, high intellect and extraordinary talents. She began her work years as a teacher and a zoologist. Over time, she brought her skills as an educator to the role of instructional designer and operations training manager for Level 3 Technologies in Colorado. She showed incredible tenacity and determination by working at Level 3 communication until just a few months before her death.

At home, Liz flowed with creative energy. As a knitter, she created garments of great complexity and beauty. She also made high quality soaps, body creams, home cleansers and facial products. She constantly experimented with new methods and the best natural ingredients. She shared her love for her skill by teaching friends how to knit and make soaps.

She was also a fantastic cook. Every holiday her home was full of friends; for “the girls,” she hosted an annual Christmas Tea. Liz enjoyed good food, good wine, good scotch and good company.

For several years she served as president of the Columbine Dachshund Club in Denver. She was a careful and conscientious breeder of standard, smooth-coat dachshunds, specializing in the black and tan color variety. Liz loved her dogs and over the years bred three grand champions.

As her disease progressed and her last dog crossed the rainbow bridge, Liz shifted her love to her two Japanese Bobtail cats, Yuki and Yama. During the last year of her life they were a great source of joy and humor. Yama sensed the nearness of Liz’s passing in the last month of her life and was constantly by Liz’s side. She loved to watch the songbirds visiting the feeders and birdbath placed outside her window.

Liz’s great love, Mike, was by her side since her diagnosis. He did not flinch or falter in the last difficult weeks. He was her strength and was by her side as she breathed her last in this world. Mike is an example to all of the power of love to overcome, to strengthen and to endure.

Liz’s generosity, her love, and her kindness glow warmly today in the hearts of her friends and family. They rejoice that she is no longer chained to her body but is now free in her spirit, forever loved and loving, forever in the presence of God.

Per Liz’s request, there is no visitation. A memorial service will take place at a later date.

Messages of condolence may be posted below on WNLP.

9 Responses to “Elizabeth “Liz” Bernel, 1951-2018”

  1. Fran Milo

    Aug 18. 2018

    Dear Jeff, Kathy, and all the Bernel Family,
    Although I never met Liz, she sounds like a wonderful woman. May her life continue to be an inspiration even though her physical presence is no longer with you. Prayers for peace and comfort.

    In Christ,
    Fran and Tom Milo

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  2. Christine Reynolds

    Aug 20. 2018

    I got to see Liz last July several times as she packed up her house to move to Ohio. While the disease was already wreaking havoc on her body, she was still our lovely Liz. I’m so glad we got to give her one last hug (Jimmy especially.) I never expected she would leave us so soon.

    Since I won’t be able to attend Liz’s memorial, I thought I might share some of the things I will most remember and/or miss about Liz. Like how she organized Christmas tea for all her friends (a tradition I now carry on with my closest friends and family.) Especially memorable was the time most of the group got an extra surprise- stomach flu! So miss you Liz! And I will always remember our sushi lunches where we’d gossip about our boss, plan fabulous camping trips (which we actually took) and love life. Liz was a generous host, inviting friends and co-workers to her home for food, wine and laughs.

    RIP my dear one. You will be missed.

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  3. Hester Muller

    Aug 21. 2018

    Jeff and Kathryn,
    Please accept our condolences with the loss of your sister. I have not yet come to terms with the death of my brother this year so I feel for you. May you have very happy memories of your sister.

    Hester Muller and Jack Allen.

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  4. Deborah Stephens

    Aug 21. 2018

    I am so grateful to have spent time with dear Liz about a week before her death. We perused old pictures and laughed at the antics of our beloved dogs and cats.

    Dear Mike has installed bird feeders outside her window in Findlay and we (and the cats) were very entertained by the finches, cardinals and hummingbirds. They all brought her such joy in the last weeks of her life.

    Her generosity to me opening her home while my new place was running late on construction was such a blessing. Spending three months with her was a great joy each day.

    The parting is bittersweet: bitter because I can no longer enjoy her love and presence, sweet because she is unfettered by her body. ALS lost its unholy grip on her in the light of God’s love and mercy. Her clear alto joins the angels rejoicing in this great gift of release.

    No one will ever take her place. May God grant rest to our dear one and peace to the living.

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  5. Katherine Joslin “Kj”

    Aug 21. 2018

    I was lucky enough to have seen Liz in action as a trainer, a coach, a friend and a creative master! I will cherish my memories and my frequent smiles at her antics. All my love to her family and friends as we grieve.

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  6. Barbara Galbreath

    Aug 21. 2018

    I had the pleasure of working with Liz at Level 3 Comm and she taught me a lot. She had the patience of Job, teaching everyone how to load videos and documentation where everyone who needed to see them could. Liz is the third person that I have known, that has been taken by this terrible, disgusting disease, ALS, in the last 2 years. May you rest in peace, Liz Bernel. You will always be remembered.

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  7. Pip WIlkins

    Aug 22. 2018

    Liz was always there to help and support those of us that were new to the business. She was always so patient and understanding and never made you feel inferior for not knowing. She was an amazing woman and I am so pleased I had the chance to not only work with her, but to learn from her.

    Condolences, love and prayers to her family xxx

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  8. Lauren Choate

    Aug 22. 2018

    Mike and Bernel Family,

    Mike I want to honor you as her partner and care taker. I trust the joy of loving her and being loved by her far out weighs the burden of caring for her physical body as it deteriorated so rapidly. As she said to me in one of her last texts, you were her Angel on earth. Blessings to you — we grieve greatly in our collective loss. And I do find comfort knowing that dearest Liz is no doubt where she has been longing to be be for a long time.
    I am most grateful for the memories and impact she had on my life. I will cherish her always. And I bet that she will be there to greet us when we finally cross over too.

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  9. Sharlee Taylor

    Aug 27. 2018

    To Liz’s family —
    I’m so sorry to hear of Liz’s passing and at the same time relieved for her. I know what that horrid disease does to a body. She’s now up in heaven cooking, teaching and back to her old self.

    My sweet, dear Liz was an instant friend the moment I met her. I had the pleasure of working with Liz for several years at Level 3. She had an amazing work ethic, she was reliable, she kept great lists, and was tenacious in her desire to complete projects. I loved her gentle reminders of items coming due soon. She was always kind and respectful to everyone. I loved her sense of humor on the job, she had a way of making me smile even when I didn’t want to!

    Liz, has been missed for many months now since she left Denver. I love her and am looking forward to seeing her in heaven.
    love and hugs to all,
    Sharlee Taylor

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