Sunday, May 22, 2016

Obituary: Charline Bernadette Browning Stevens - Class of 1946

MADISON - Charline Bernadette Browning Stevens was in this life from Jan. 31, 1928, until April 27, 2016. Bernadette was born in Madison, the fifth and last surviving child of C. Bernard Browning and Patricia Bridget (Manion) Browning's seven children. Growing up on the edge of the Greenbush neighborhood, she was the quintessential "townie," even having graduated from Central High School, 1946. She was wont to find a way to figure out a Madison connection between herself and family and many of the people she met. This is a penchant she passed along to her children and grandchildren.

Bernadette was fond of saying she had had a good life. It also was punctuated with periods of great happiness, especially being a part of the daily life of many of her grandchildren to whom she was "Grams." She placed a high value on maintaining a sense of humor and not taking oneself too seriously.

Bernadette worked as a bartender, waitress, and for several state agencies. She retired nearly 25 years ago from the Wisc. Department of Veterans Affairs. She lived alone and independently until Jan., 2016, and, as if to have one last laugh, this feisty, strong-willed woman moved toward her final journey quietly.

Some of the rules for getting along with Bernadette were: always be courteous to the waitress, do not be a picky eater, back the car into the driveway, and vote Democrat.

Bernadette is survived by her children, Janet Stevens, Tom (Mimi) Stevens, Mike (Nancy) Stevens, Patty Stevens Blum, David Stevens (Wei Han), and Carol Stevens. Her daughter, Jean "Beanie" Stevens predeceased her in 1994. Also surviving her are 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; her former husband and his wife, Ray and Mary Stevens; and many nieces and nephews.

For many years Bernadette enjoyed hosting a gathering at her place on the Memorial Day weekend. Her family will celebrate her life in this traditional. Please join us on Saturday, May 28, 2016, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 2545 Hoard St., Madison, Wis.

If you wish to make a memorial to Bernadette, please consider one of these organizations (which are special to a number of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren): Autumn Farm Sanctuary, P.O. Box 188, Cedarburg, WI 53012 or NESYB [North-East-Sherman Youth Basketball], P.O. Box 7751, Madison, WI 53707-7751.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on May 22, 2016. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968).

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