Sheila Reynolds Berner, 87, died peacefully Sept. 19 surrounded by her loving family. She had suffered for several years from Alzheimer’s, but endured it with grace.
Sheila earned her bachelor’s degree from Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart and her master’s of social work degree at the University of Illinois, a degree she earned after raising her five children. She then joined the staff of the Howard Area Community Center, where she served for 25 years as a social worker. Its Family Center now bears her name.
Sheila was a woman before her time, a justice-seeking force of nature. Her warmth and inspiration were shared beyond family and friends to anyone who needed help. She was a knockout inside and out: vibrant, beautiful, inclusive, humble, whip smart, hard-working, a ton of fun and usually the first to offer a smile or to volunteer for a difficult task.
She loved and lived life to its fullest. She adored her large and very talkative family, made perfect ski turns down Jackson Hole Resort runs, rode her racing bike well into her 80s and participated in protests for justice throughout her long life.
She traveled the world, turning work and family vacations into memorable adventures. Sheila was an effortless and gracious hostess, hosting too-many-to-count dinners at a moment’s notice in her home of 60 years. She quietly and unwaveringly lived her faith.
It is an absolute certainty that Sheila would have been embarrassed by these accolades. Her humility was genuine.
Sheila’s children, their spouses and her grandchildren were a source of immense happiness and pride. But her greatest passion and source of immeasurable joy was the love of her life, Robert L. Berner Jr., her best friend and loving husband of 64 years.
Together they created a legacy of love, loyalty and patience that extends beyond her family to all who love them.
In addition to her husband, Shelia is survived by her children Mary Berner (Sally Whaling), Louise Berner Holmberg (Michael), Robert L. Berner III (Libby), Sheila Berner Kennedy (Chris) and John Berner (Eileen); her beloved grandchildren Molly, Mari, Michael and Bobby Moriarty; Rebecca, Louisa, Max and Bobby Holmberg; Rob, Clare Nash (Riley), Tory Korth (Vince), Billy and Lulu Berner; Kate, Chris (Erin), Sarah and Clare Kennedy; and Caroline, Johnny, Tommy and Chris Berner; one great grandchild (!), Rhett Robert Nash; her dear sisters Susan Sullivan and Mary Ellen Reynolds; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
She was predeceased by her siblings Thomas A. Reynolds, John J. Reynolds and Anne Reynolds Skakel.