Bernadine (Bernie) Cielesz

April 20, 1931March 5, 2018

Bernadine (Bernie) Cielesz went to be with our Lord on March 5, 2018. She was born on April 20, 1931, to Joseph and Mary Zabawski in Nanticoke, PA. Bernadine married Leonard Cielesz on June 25, 1949; and they relocated to Harrisburg, PA, a few years later. In 1965, Bernie and her husband and four daughters moved to Norman, OK, where she lived until her death. Bernadine and Leonard were married for 57 years until his death in 2006. Everyone speaks a different love language and Bernie communicated her love through acts of service. Whether it was as a sister, cousin, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother, or just a friend, Bernie lived her faith through her life of service. In addition to being a homemaker, Bernie served the many people of Norman, Oklahoma. She served adults and their families as a beloved waitress in many restaurants; she served children as a cafeteria worker; and she served the community as a greeter in the Moore, OK, Wal-Mart, where she would pass out smiles and happy face stickers to all who visited. Most recently, she served those with whom she lived at Arbor House, whether it was assisting residents to their rooms and various events or helping newcomers acclimate to their surroundings. Bernie’s favorite song was “You Are My Sunshine” and her acts of service ensured that she was that sunshine to all of those around her. Bernadine was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard; her parents; brother, Leo Zabawski and sisters, Sylvia Piecka and Theresa Pinkowski; son-in-law, Larry Christol; and great granddaughter, Emerson Ivy Richards. She is survived by her four daughters: Jane Richards of Shreveport, LA; Joan Colley and her husband, Wayne, of Norman, OK; Paula Christol of Orlando, FL, and Pam Cielesz and her partner Bill Hicks of Fort Meade, MD; seven grandchildren: Renee Hanshaw and husband Scott, Jennifer Frazier, Laura Sherry and husband Tim, Traci Kiosterud and husband Rob, T.J. Richards and wife Madison, Alison Christian and husband Nick, and Kyle Christol; eleven great grandchildren: Bobby, Brandon, Brooks, and Baily Graves; Lauren and Easton Kiosterud; Wyatt, C.J., and Sawyer Sherry; Brittain Richards; and Kennady Christian; and one great-great grandchild, Bella Graves. Bernie’s daughters would like to thank Arbor House, and all the employees and residents there, for giving Bernie a “Wonderful Life” since she moved there in December of 2015. Bernie always told us how much she loved Arbor House and how happy she was there. We would also like to extend an extra special thank you to Rev. Brown for all his visits and prayers while Bernie was in the hospital. And thank you so much to the doctors, nurses, and chaplain at Norman Regional Hospital that treated Bernie and for the special care that they gave to her during those last difficult days. Your kindness was truly appreciated.


  • Memorial Service Friday, July 6, 2018

Bernadine (Bernie) Cielesz

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Sheila Cribbs

March 13, 2018

So sorry to hear about Bernie. She was a dear friend and a wonderful lady. I still remember sitting by she and your dad at ST. Joseph's every week. We always corresponded at Christmas time. She sent me a lovely note this last Christmas. Will miss her very much. My love to all of you. "May she rest in peace."

Diane Brown

March 11, 2018

I met Bernie when my mother first moved into Arbor House. My husband jokingly asked if she would give him a ride in her wheelchair. She said yes and wanted to know what room he was in! We became good friends after that. She always had a smile and a story to share. Mom moved to another facility, but I visited occasionally and she would always ask after her. She was a special woman and will be greatly missed. Prayers for your family at this time.

Collette Heim

March 10, 2018

I loved working with Bernie at Walmart. Even after I left 277, I always loved going and seeing her and her sweet smile. She was always so loving. I know I have missed seeing her and loved her very much. She will be missed. Heaven gained a beautiful soul.