In memory of
Bernadette Teresa Oleksa
Tribute to Bernie
Bernadette (Bernie) Oleksa passed away October 18, 2016. She was a polio survivor, long-time scooter-user, but mostly she was truly a fine lady, very involved with helping others, soft-spoken and thoughtful, a great friend.
In the 80's we served together on the Board of the Michigan Polio Network. Meetings were monthly in Lansing. Also in the 80's we volunteered several times for the March of Dimes Annual fundraising walks. Her idea. No, not as walkers, but in tallying, in the MoD Southfield office, the pledges of the walkers. It was a small way for us to thank MoD for the generous financial assistance in the 50's to polio patients. Bernie talked about how much she'd enjoyed attending Camp Grace Bentley. This is a summer camp for disabled children on the shores of Lake Huron. In later years she volunteered there and became a Board member.
In 2009 my husband & I were blessed to attend a festive celebration for her 80th birthday and RETIREMENT!! Wow! 80 years old and RETIRING?! She'd worked as a bookkeeper at the last company for 30 years. The company owners were there to honor her. We also got to meet her family including her 2 sons and the grandchildren.
In the last few years she moved to assisted living in Marshall to be closer to one of her sons and family. When we visited, she was busy enjoying jig-saw puzzles. (So we sent more.) Not one to just " sit around", she served on the facility's Food & Garden Committees. Recently her physical condition had declined considerably. I imagine that where she is now there is no need for crutches or scooters. Do you suppose that she's found a committee or a Board to work on?
BERNADETTE TERESA OLEKSA, at age 87, of Marshall and formerly of Detroit died Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at Oaklawn Hospital with her family at her bedside.
Mrs. Oleksa was born on May 27, 1929 in Detroit to Louis and Pauline (Barczyk) Pawlus. She lived the majority of her life in Bloomfield Hills and Rochester Hills and was a graduate of Commerce High School, in Detroit. Bernadette had been employed as a bookkeeper for the Degenhardt Construction Company in Troy for over 30 years. She retired in 2009 at the age of 80. Other employment included the J. Walter Thompson Company in Detroit.
In 1959, she married Myron Oleksa from Detroit, who preceded her in death on July 2, 2005. Bernadette was a polio survivor and had been very active with the Southeast Michigan Polio Support Group as well as with Camp Grace Bentley, serving both organizations as a Board member and volunteer. She enjoyed knitting, gardening, and cooking. She is remembered by her family as a loving mother and grandmother. She was a very social person and made friends easily. She had a positive impact wherever she went as she had the gift of helping others. While living at Maplewood of Marshall, Bernadette served on the Food and Garden Committees. She is survived by sons, Robert "Rob" (Jenny) Oleksa of Marshall and David Oleksa of St. Louis, MO; 6 grandchildren: Caitlin, Danny, Katherine, Sami, Max and Anna, her grand-dog Sawyer; and a sister, Elizabeth Wisniewski of Detroit. She is preceded in death by brothers, Frank Pawlus, Jerry Pawlus, Stanley Pawlus, and Edward Pawlus; sisters, Jean Schwagle and Patricia Pawlus. A family graveside service was held in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield