Bernadine's Story

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Bernadine McGrath Friedrichs, born April 22, 1926 in Dunn Center, North Dakota, to Michael J. McGrath and Alice Meehan McGrath, passed away on March 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV, her home since 1992. An Irish wake for Bernadine will be held Friday, May 19, 4-8 pm, at Northview ~ North Mankato Mortuary, 2060 Commerce Drive, North Mankato, MN. Bernadine's life will be further celebrated Saturday, May 20, at All Saints Church, Madison Lake, with a 10 am visitation, an 11 am Mass of Christian Burial, and a 12 noon lunch. There will be an approximate 2 pm internment of ashes at Calvary Cemetery, Mankato.
Bernadine lived in North Dakota until she was 13, then moved to the Marysburg area, near Mankato, graduating from Cleveland High School in 1943. She attended during Mankato State Teachers College, earning a two-year teaching certificate in a single-year (1943-44), in an accelerated World War II-era program. She taught in various towns in Southern MN for six years (1944-50) before moving to the St. Paul Schools, where she taught until 1986. Bernadine had a passion for teaching elementary students, mostly first graders, and her basement was filled with teaching materials for all subjects and levels of ability. She was widely recognized for skill in teaching reading and creative writing, especially to those with learning problems and to new English learners. She worked on her craft at length, often taking one course at a time over 40 years to attain Bachelor's and Master's Degrees and many additional graduate credits.
Bernadine married Eugene Friedrichs of Mankato Township (son of the late William L. and Margaret Walport Friedrichs) in Mankato in 1951. She, Eugene, and their son Terry lived on St. Paul's East Side, in White Bear Lake, and in Mendota Heights until her 1992 retirement in Las Vegas. That "retirement" saw her substitute and volunteer teaching in Las Vegas Elementary Schools for another 10 years (approx. 1986-96), as well traveling around the world for another 20 years (through about 2006). Beloved husband Eugene passed away in 2009, and Bernadine especially enjoyed frequent visits in recent years from her son and many nieces and nephews.
Bernadine always emphasized the value of civic engagement, and served as Secretary of the St. Paul Teachers Board in the early 1970s, when it worked toward significantly higher pensions and health care for retired educators. She appreciated discussions, both joyful and agonizing, on political and civic events.
Bernadine is survived by son Terry of West St. Paul and by many nieces and nephews and their children. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sister Mary Ellen Dennison (Eureka, CA), and many longtime Mankato-area brothers-and-sisters-in-law: Rich Friedrichs and Velma Friedrichs Bunde: Les and Eleanor (Friedrichs) Jones: Bill and Ann (Weingartz) Friedrichs: Paul and Sally (Weingartz) Friedrichs: Mary (Friedrichs) Walters: and Rudy and Gladys (Kurth) Friedrichs.
Published on May 14, 2017
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