In the early morning hours of Good Friday, April 10, 2020, Bernice "Bernie' Elizabeth (Proto) Pezzullo, beautiful wife of Vincent 'Vinny' Emelio Pezzullo, received her call to supervise the 'front line', as she did for many years before her retirement.
Bernie was an incredible mother to her devoted daughters, Denise A. Asciola (Michael), Karen L. and Diane M. Pezzullo. 'Noni' cherished her precious grandchildren, Richard A. 'Ricky' Lima, Jr. and Riley E. McCluskey.
The daughter of the late Beatrice (Moran) and Joseph Proto, Bernice was one of seven. She leaves her loving sisters, Noreen Bonsante (Dan), Patricia Ernst (late Vinnie Ernst) and Anne Marie Orefice (Peter), and has been reunited with Silvia Debney, Lois Proto and JoAnne Collins (Charles).
In addition to the immediate family, Bernie was a Godmother, aunt, great aunt, and cousin to many.
Bernie graduated from Colt Memorial High School in 1958. The caption under her senior photo, "Patience is the best remedy for every trouble", depicts what was, one of her most genuine qualities; her 'ambition' was to become a nurse.
It was during her senior year when Bernie met a handsome guy at a carnival in Barrington, who offered his coat to shield from the cold. This man, Vinny, became her husband in October of 1962, and continued to shelter Bernie through life and her prolonged illness with Alzheimer's.
In 1960, Bernie pursued her dream to become a registered nurse. She graduated from, and then worked at, Truesdale Hospital in Fall River, Mass.
She moved on and accepted a position at the VA Hospital in Providence. It was during that time Bernie decided to further her nursing education and in 1973 graduated magna cum laude from Salve Regina College. It wasn't long before she was hired as Nurse Manager of the Angiography and X-ray Departments at The Miriam Hospital, where she remained for twenty-six years until her retirement in 2005. Bernie made her mark on the many staff she trained and worked with. Her accomplishments and legacy continue in the stories that are shared.
Bernie's bright eyes and broad smile lit up the world. She never had an ill word towards anyone. She cared and gave selflessly. Patience, love and kindness were only a few of her many attributes.
Bernie found enjoyment in being outdoors. She loved watching the birds and naming cardinals upon their visits, taking long walks, weeding the flower beds, and clearing the yard of fallen sticks.
Everyone knew Bernie's fixation with cleaning and were always prepared to lift their feet as she mopped the floor. Although this was one of her daily tasks, cooking was not. Thankfully Vinny dominated in this category.
Noni always utilized her vast knowledge of Latin, to assure Ricky understood the meaning of words when completing his school work. She was his biggest fan and through the years, even during her sickness, attended as many events and games possible. When Riley was born, Bernie was elated to have a beautiful, sweet granddaughter, who assumed her middle name. Noni always blessed her prized possessions with singing, 'I love you a bushel and a peck' while giving them, 'hugs around their necks'.
Bernie's favorite past times, skiing in NH with the Scenic View crew and in Sun Valley Idaho; sailing aboard, The Sailsman; traveling to Ireland (making friends with the 'donkeys'); cruising to Hawaii; and retiring to the condo in Florida, always included family and dear friends.
Being a devoted Catholic and communicant of St. Mary's Church in Bristol, the family always attended Sunday mass and endured Bernie singing all the hymns.
Unfortunately, the celebration of Bernie's life is postponed until an admissible time. Burial will be private.
Until then, continue to remember Bernie as the perfect woman she was and perform daily acts of kindness as she did. Requiescat in Pace (rest in peace) sweet angel.
During this time, please omit flowers. In Bernie's memory, the family would appreciate donations be made to the Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice, 1184 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871.
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