Bernadette was born Bernadette Deutsch on November 2, 1930 in Speyer in the old Soviet Union. She passed away with family members present on June 10, 2019. Her ancestors had emigrated from Germany in 1809 with the promise of land to cultivate.
During communist rule in Russia, Bernadette’s father Joseph, was taken away to a forced labor camp in Siberia. To escape further hardships, the Deutsch family moved to Germany in 1944. Bernadette initially had seven siblings. Only her mother and two siblings survived through communist rule and World War II, to emigrate back to Germany.
In 1951 Bernadette, her mother Margaret and her two siblings, Adam and Katie, moved from Germany to the United States. Bernadette met her first husband, Peter Baumstark, while living in North Dakota. They married in 1952 and had three children before moving to Spokane in 1960, where they had their fourth child.
Bernadette’s first husband passed away in 1989. She re-married to a long-time friend, Valentine “Val” Herzog in 1997, who passed away in 2016. Both Peter and Val had very similar family backgrounds and were born in the same general area of Russia as Bernadette.
Bernadette is survived by her four children, Peter Jr and Victor Baumstark, Mary McGonigle and Kathy Zaring.
In Spokane she and her sister joined the German American Society and became members of the choir. Many lifelong friendships were formed there. Saturday night dinners, dances and other celebrations were definitely the highlights of her week. The choir would travel to places like Portland, Seattle and Canada for competitions with choirs from other German clubs. She was also a very talented seamstress and sewed for her family and others who enlisted her help. The German club celebrated Fasching (Germany’s carnival season) every year with a costume party that included prizes for the best costume. Bernadette’s husband, Peter, was also a Master Tailor. Since they both sewed, they would typically win 1st or 2nd place.
Through most of the 1960’s and 1970’s the family lived in St. Aloysius Catholic parish and Bernadette also sang in the church choir. She remained close to her family from Europe with her mother, brother and sister all living within a few blocks of each other during this time.