A Funeral Mass for Bernadine M. O’Malley, age 83, of O’Neill formerly of Chambers, NE, will be 10:30 AM Thursday, May 3, 2018, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in O’Neill. Burial will be in the O’Neill Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5-8 PM with a 7 PM Parish Vigil Service, at Biglin’s Mortuary in O’Neill. She passed away on Sunday, April 29, 2018, at the O’Neill Care and Rehabilitation Center in O’Neill.
Bernadine was born in Ewing, NE, on December 24, 1934, as the eighth of 11 children to Roy and Ann (Bauer) Rotherham. Along with her siblings, she worked at the Rotherham family restaurant – the Green Lantern; and she attended Ewing Public School, where she graduated from high school in 1953. Following graduation, she worked for a gas company, with employment stints in Neligh, Lincoln, and Columbus, NE.
Bernadine then started dating Leo O’Malley, who lived on a ranch nestled at the edge of the Nebraska sand hills just west of Chambers, NE. On April 28, 1962, Bernadine and Leo married at St. Peter de Alcantara Catholic Church in Ewing. Following the wedding, they made their home on this same O’Malley family ranch, where they would live and raise a family for almost fifty years. Bernadine and Leo raised five children on the ranch, all born within a span of less than seven years – four boys and a girl. Anyone who visited Bernadine’s ranch home was immediately considered family, and the environment she created – with runzas, coffee rings, carmel rolls, and an endless supply of food and friendship – spoke volumes about Bernadine’s heart and soul: She truly lived her Catholic faith through her service to others.
Bernadine’s Catholic faith was always apparent to anyone who came into contact with her, on the ranch or otherwise. Her faith inspired her family, her involvement in the local community, and especially her involvement in the life of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Amelia, where she enjoyed teaching catechism to 2nd grade students for many years, as she prepared them for reception of the sacraments. She was also a passionate Pro Life advocate who regularly volunteered to support the sanctity of all life from conception to natural death.
When Leo and Bernadine retired from the ranch in 2001, they moved to O’Neill, NE, where they would live one block from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. This allowed them to fulfill a desire to attend daily Mass as often as they were able. Just as she was on the ranch, Bernadine continued in her role as a loving wife, mother, and grandmother; and a friend who was always willing to help those in need, with love in her heart and without any form of judgement.
Bernadine also enjoyed an occasional trip to the “Hill,” where she might try her hand at the nickel slot machines or simply have dinner with Leo. She and Leo also attended many of their grandchildren’s sports events, just as they did when their own children were growing up on the ranch. When the football and basketball seasons arrived, they could be found sitting in the stands almost anywhere in Nebraska or South Dakota, or simply gathered around the radio listening at home.
Bernadine was preceded in death by her parents and eight siblings: Pat, Michael, Jim, Betty, Donna, Vince, Jerry, and Geraldine. She is survived by her husband, Leo; her sister, Sharon Ward of Norfolk; brother, Butch Rotherham of Ewing; and sisters-in-law, Marge, Karen, and Carol Rotherham. Her children included Patrick (Colleen) of Centerville, SD; Karrie (Dan) Duffy of Rapid City, SD; Charles (Laurel) of Chambers; James (Deb) of North Platte; and William (Patricia) of North Platte. Her grandchildren included: Kieran, Seamus, Rory, Shannon, Malloy, and Nora O’Malley; Brendan, Liam, Caitlin, Moira, Ciara, Aislinn, Mairin, and Declan Duffy; Daniel O’Malley; Sean, Mandy, and Logan O’Malley; Joseph and Anna O’Malley.
Bernadine will be dearly missed by all who had the good fortune to know her. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.