Bernard Joseph “Bernie” Kupiec Jr.
By Kim Swindell Wood | February 6, 2018 6:49 am
Nov. 3, 1950 – Jan. 26 2018
My brother, Bernie Kupiec Jr., 66, was a fool. Anyone born into this world can be counted a fool at one time or another.
Bernie’s younger years were sprinkled with hopes and dreams and successes and failures. The details are unimportant, because we all can relate. What happened in Bernie’s life up until 15 years ago is now filed away in the dust trail of history.
He had a difficult time through most of his life because bipolar was not diagnosed until his late 20’s. The doctors he saw over-medicated, which compounded the problem, but Bernie was a gamer and refused to just vegetate. Do you believe in the power of prayer? Our mom was a prayer warrior! She prayed for Bernie continuously. And I believe that prayer is like a series of letters that God answers over time. Unless you pray, there are no letters to deliver.
Bernie was a fool because he always wanted to learn, even though it was difficult; he was a fool because he gave away more than he had; he was a fool for listening more than talking; he was a fool because he believed encouraging was more important than lecturing; he was a fool because he believed in the human worth of the elderly; he was a fool because if he was taken advantage of he figured the sun comes up in the morning, and isn’t that wonderful. Finally he was a fool for replacing the battery on his 10-year-old car every six months and buying a $1 weekly lotto tickets that never scored.
As I began sorting through his few belongings, I found a box of letters, thank you cards, birthday and holiday cards, and in most small notes that said, “Thank you for your help.” “Thank you for the gift.” “Thank you for making me feel better.” “Get well soon, we all miss you.” There were hundreds and some dated 15 years ago. He treasured each one as if they were printed in gold on the finest parchment.
As I have walked around Sparta taking care of my brother’s affairs, each person I met had a small story to tell me of Bernie’s kindness, patience, giving, encouragement, humor, and foolishness, and never expecting anything in return. He always greeted people by their name.
Thank you Senior Center for your words, thank you residents (the girls) of senior housing on Pleasant Hill, thank you Dara at Putnam Bank, thank you Elaine at Cumberland Insurance, thank you staff and patients at Life Care Sparta, thank you Hunter Funeral Home for the dignity you observed, thank you Aunt Jen and cousin Chris, thank you Ember and Ralph Swan, and especially thank you cousins Debbie and John Guy of Smryna; and thank you to all I haven’t seen and have a story to tell.
Thank you, brother, for being a fool in Christ. I pray I can be just half the fool you were. See you soon.
With gratitude, David and Terumi
The family will honor Bernie by receiving friends 1-3 p.m., Feb. 7, 2017, at Hunter Funeral Home.
Cremation services are entrusted to Hunter Funeral Home.