David T. Ferguson Funeral Home

20 North Street, Washingtonville, NY


Bernadette Anne Kleister

July 24, 1951September 16, 2019
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Bernadette A. Kleister July 24, 1951 – September 16, 2019 Salisbury Mills, NY Bernadette Kleister of Salisbury Mills lost her courageous four-year battle with cancer and entered into eternal rest on September 16, 2019 at Orange Regional Medical Center surrounded by her loving family. Bernadette was the daughter of the late James and Anne Gauquie of Washingtonville, NY.

Bernadette grew up on the family farm, attended Mt.St. Mary Academy and graduated from Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh, NY. After graduating, she was a science teacher at Bishop Dunn Memorial School, where she also choreographed many spring musicals. Bernadette spent many years sharing her love of dance with others at the Gauquie Sister’s School of Dance where she was a partner with her sister Maryanne. She was also a long time choir member at St. Mary’s RC church in Washingtonville, NY. In her free time, Bernadette loved to help out at the family farm. She never lost her love of farming.

She was predeceased by her father James, her mother Anne, her brother Anthony and her Aunt Margaret Nill. She is survived by her husband Bruce Kleister; her sons Christopher Kleister and his wife Cheryl and James Kleister and his girlfriend Alyssa Valentino; her daughter Rosemary Phillips and husband Kevin Phillips; and her sister Maryanne and her husband John McCormack. She also leaves behind her 5 grandchildren; Christopher, Austin and Devin Kleister and Lucas and Daniel Phillips, Sister in law's Phyllis Lamoureux and Jill and Andrew Waite, as well as, many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be on Sunday September 22, from 4-8 pm at the David T. Ferguson Funeral Home, 20 North St, Washingtonville, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday September 23, 10:00 am at St. Mary’s Church, 42 Goshen Avenue, Washingtonville, NY. Burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers donation can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105


  • Visitation Sunday, September 22, 2019
  • Mass of Christian Burial Monday, September 23, 2019
  • Burial Following Funeral Mass Monday, September 23, 2019


Bernadette Anne Kleister

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Lynn Maelia

September 21, 2019

Bernadette was a force of nature – her smile, her laugh, her ENERGY. She worked harder than anyone I know and loved her family and her students and her community with such passion. She gave of herself so easily and thought of others before herself. We had some great collaborations – science experiments and element bingo. I will always remember that wonderful laugh and that cow costume. . . no one can forget that cow costume. She was one of a kind and her loss is incalculable. May she rest in peace and may your memories of this unforgettable woman sustain you in your grief.

Michael O'Leary

September 21, 2019

Bruce: My most sincere condolences over the passing of your wife. Michael O'Leary

Nicole Glynn

September 19, 2019

Mrs. Kleister was one of a kind. Her excitement, passion and dedication to her students was immeasurable and truly remarkable.

From element bingo to the impromptu lunch time dance rehearsals in the lab, Mrs. Kleister always made the time with her students memorable and meaningful.

She has left such an imprint on my life and will never be forgotten.


Will Snyder

September 18, 2019

A unique and one of a kind soul, there aren't enough adjectives to describe Mrs. Kleister. From teaching us how to tap dance in sweatpants to memorizing the periodic table– she would always do so with an overwhelming passion and tenacity.

From bovines and iodines, we loved and looked up to her as her students.

You have forever impacted our lives in the most positive of ways.

Condolences to friends and family.

With love,
Will and Lily Snyder
Former BDMS students

Lauren & Ryan Bayer

September 18, 2019

Mrs. Kleister will always hold many of our memories at Bishop Dunn Memorial School. Mrs. Kleister had the best sense of humor and could always make her students laugh whether it was at element bingo dress up in her cow costume or making lollipops in her classroom around Christmas time. You always knew when she was around because of her booming voice and wonderful personality.

We are saddened to hear of her passing and she will always be remembered by her science students from Bishop Dunn.

Lauren Bayer and Ryan Bayer
(former students)

Mimi & Jimmy White

September 18, 2019

What I remember the most is seeing you every Halloween with your grandchildren. Will miss seeing you this year. The thing that gives everyone comfort is that you’re at peace now. RIP Bernadette and may your family get some comfort knowing that.

Jenn McCarthy

September 18, 2019

Mrs K was one of a kind. The most low maintenance and humble woman that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

She loved her family more than anything in this world, especially her children and grandchildren.

The strength and fight that she had these past few years was incredible and was a real inspiration to all.

I love you Mrs K and will miss you so much, especially at Christmas, because you always made it so special for us at TKLG. I will try to carry on the traditions you instilled in me.

May you rest in peace free from pain and continue to guide and watch over us from above.

Love always,


Patricia Greico

September 18, 2019

Bernadette was a wonderful woman, terrific teacher and great friend. She loved her family, her cows and science. Being in her classroom with the students was such a joy. Making lollipops, flying paper airplanes, caring for "babies", testing student created vehicles, or just listening to her vast knowledge made science come alive for all in her room. Bernadette will be missed; she was a very special person who will always have a place in my heart.
Pat Greico
Bishop Dunn Memorial School