OBITUARY

Robert S. Bernal

November 22, 1925October 18, 2020
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Robert S. (Sánchez) Bernal, Sr. died October 18, 2020, three months after his wife of 72 years, Mary Helen (Magdalena Martínez) Bernal. Robert and Helen were married on May 8, 1948 living their entire lives in Austin. Robert and Helen met after his return from World War II at the old Austin Laundry at 23rd and Guadalupe Street. Robert was born in San Antonio November 22, 1925 and Helen was born on July 23, 1930 in Marlin, Texas.

Robert and Helen had three children: Robert Bernal, Jr. and identical twins Cynthia (DeeDee ) Simoni and Sandra (DaDa) Bernal.

Robert Bernal was the son of Toríbio Peña (T.P) Bernal and Francísca Sánchez Bernal. Robert was one of eight children and his deceased siblings are Ábelino (Bennie), Alejándro (Alex “Güero”) Mary (La Néna), Charles and Richard. Robert is survived by brothers Gilbert “Red” and Bennie Donald Bernal. Robert loved all his family very much and especially took thoughtful care and time for his older brother Bennie throughout Bennie’s life. It was Robert who encouraged Bennie to pre-arrange their funerals’ as Bennie was a bachelor.

Helen was born to Joe G. (García) Martínez and María de Jesús DeLeón. Helen was the eldest of nine children. Helen’s deceased siblings are Robert D., Rachael Havens and Edward D. Helen is survived by siblings Lorine (Nöné) Benavides, Joe G. Martinez, Jr., Theresa Álvarez, Richard D. Martínez and Mary Alice (LuLu) Gonzáles. Helen’s paternal aunt, Ruby Alvarado, lives in Austin. Robert was very considerate and generous to Helen’s younger siblings taking them with his family to parks, the State Capital or out for hamburgers.

Robert and Helen have five grand children: Marisol Bernal, Ettore & Renaldo Simoni, Robert John Bernal and Javier Ozúna, and six great-grand children and two great-great grand children.

Robert came from a family of veterans: his father was a Doughboy in the Army in WWI. Robert joined the Navy at 17 years old requiring his parents’ permission to enlist. At this time, Robert’s older brothers Bennie and Alex were already serving in WWII, Bennie in the Navy and Alex in the Army both in the European theatre. Robert’s time in the Navy was stationed in Hawai’i serving in the Pacific theatre. He was at Iwo Jima during this long bloody battle dropping off Marines many times to the island’s shore. Robert also served three years in the Army National Guard, was activated twice to active military duty during the Berlin and Cuban crisis and was stationed at Fort Polk, LA.

Helen enjoyed cooking and baking and was a fantastic cook who only knew how to cook large meals. Helen could quickly cook a large meal in a very short time for anyone who dropped over. Helen taught herself to read by reading the newspaper and recipes. Helen encouraged and taught her children to drive. Helen donated her body to medicine to the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Helen was able to travel to Germany and Italy a few times to visit Cynthia & Roy during their tours. Several times Helen and her aunt Lucy caught the “red-eye” flights to Los Angeles to visit family. Robert and Helen traveled to Mexico City, Guadalajara and to West Point Military Academy for their grandson’s graduation. Both Helen and Robert were bilingual in English and Spanish.

Robert and Helen lived 49 years in the house where Robert did most of the labor on Glenhill and 20 years on Nelray in a house built and purchased with a WWII Veteran’s home loan.

Robert and Helen really enjoyed dancing and went to many, many wedding receptions and Tejano dances joining family and friends throughout their marriage dancing to the music of Tejano Legends Isidro López y su Orquesta, Alfonso Rámos y su Orquesta, Nash Hernández y su Orquesta and Manuel “Cowboy” Donnley dancing at the old Auditorium and the Coliseum on Town Lake, the Skyline and Avalon clubs on North Lamar, Dessau Hall and any where else where live Tejano music was playing. Robert loved drinking his beer and listening to Mexican music. Robert would make the rounds dancing with Helen’s sisters and cousins making sure they all had an opportunity to dance. Robert and Helen even took Cynthia and Sandra for their 17th birthdays to Waco to go see Little Joe & Johnny Hernandez y la Familia.

Robert loved saltwater fishing and always had a boat. He built his first boat while living on Nelray in the late 50s. He and son “Sonny Boy” traveled many times to Port O’Connor on Nash Phillips-Copus’ fishing trips taking his 20-foot fishing boat “Marisol” in tow.

Robert’s last employment was as a state senate parking guard on the State Capitol grounds. He really enjoyed this job and was employed there for 14 years retiring just before his 89th birthday. Robert loved being outdoors, being able to meet and chat with the Governors, Lt. Governors as well as state senators, chiefs of police and many more state government officials.

The family extends their most heartfelt thanks to the staff at Sedona Trace Health and Wellness where both Robert and Helen resided at the end of their lives. Our very special thanks goes to Vanessa, the activity coordinator, who was most caring and thoughtful to our father during his last weeks and days.

Services

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, October 28, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, October 29, 2020

  • Committal Service

    Thursday, October 29, 2020

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