Obituary of Mildred Bernthal
Mildred (Mil) Dorothy Bernthal passed away peacefully, surrounded by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on December 20, 2019 at the age of 95. She was born Feb. 20, 1924 in St. Louis, Missouri to Theodore and Paula Vogel.
Mil graduated with a degree in social work from Valparaiso University, where she met her future husband, August Bernthal. She married Rev. Dr. August Bernthal on August 21, 1948 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Louis, sharing over 56 years of joyful marriage with him until his death in 2004.
After serving as a social worker and elementary school teacher in St. Louis, she moved to Winter Haven, FL in 1950 when her husband took a call to Grace Lutheran Church to serve as its first called pastor.
There, Mil was a very active partner with him in ministry for an incredible 50 years, working tirelessly alongside him to lead the growth of the congregation from less than twenty members to more than 2,800 baptized members. Along the way, she was enthusiastically involved in the music ministry at Grace, serving as its first organist, along with decades spent in the choir and bell choir. She also taught Sunday School, worked with Grace’s active refugee resettlement program, and served in countless other capacities.
Everyone who knew her understood her authentic kindness, her wonderful sense of humor and smile, her love for her family, friends, and the members Grace Lutheran Church, whom she considered extended family. Despite her many contributions to Grace, all appreciated her unassuming nature. These qualities, and especially her servant’s heart, also led her to be a wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and wife who limitlessly and unselfishly gave her time and love to each and every family member. She will be greatly missed, but will live on both in heaven and in the cherished legacy she left behind on earth.
She is survived by her six children who loved her dearly: Ruth (and Keith) Hostler, Cathy (and Beau) Bowen, Mary (and Rev. Phil) Whitener, Martha (and Jim) Martinez, Rev. Mark (and Cyndi) Bernthal, and Dr. Matt (and Krista) Bernthal. She is also survived by 23 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and her brother Theodore (Ted) Vogel. She is pre-deceased by her husband, Rev. Dr. August Bernthal, and her sister, Virginia Visser.
“Go, My children, sins forgiven,
At peace and pure.
Here you learned how much I love you,
What I can cure.
Here you heard My dear Son’s story;
Here you touched Him, saw His glory.
Go, My children, sins forgiven,
At peace and pure.”
- Go, My Children, with My Blessing (Lutheran Service Book)