Wife, Mother of 6, Bernadette Ormsby Worked in Saline Hospital Delivery Room, Helped Bring Catholic Church to Saline

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Bernadette Ormsby, age 98, of Saline, Michigan passed away peacefully with her family by her side on Sunday, July 24, 2022. She was born in Westbrook, Maine on June 7th, 1924 to Arthur Fournier and Bernadette Buotte.

Bernie’s mother died 3 hours after she was born so she was raised by her grandparents. At a young age, she was put in a Catholic boarding school. She only spoke French and at 12, she was moved to another school that only spoke English and had to learn English and new subjects at the same time. She met many obstacles in her life which made her a strong woman, and she was always helpful if you needed advice. 

While attending nursing school near the Portland Maine Navy base in 1941, the nursing students were given passes to attend the USO which was a place where big bands played, and sailors went on leave. Bernie loved to tell the story of how she met Bob. She saw this good-looking guy with a big smile and hoped he would ask her to dance. He didn’t stay long that night, so she kept going back hoping to meet him. She saw him walk in one night and thought, there’s that sailor. He sat down and read the funny papers for a while. Then he walked behind her, but she wouldn’t turn her head to see where he was because she didn’t want him to think she was watching him. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder, and it was him, asking her to dance. He was shipped out a few days later and they wrote letters for two years. It must have been true love. They were married in 1945 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and were married for 52 years until Bob passed away.

When Bernie moved to Saline there wasn’t a Catholic Church in Saline. She and a few other women wanted a church in Saline and started meeting with a priest from Ann Arbor at the schoolhouse near Michigan Ave and State St. This was later to become St. Andrews Catholic church.

Bernie was known for her beautiful handwriting. She loved writing and during Christmas, she spent late night hours writing over a hundred cards, and with each card, she would send a personalized letter.

When she first moved to Saline, she worked at the old hospital at the corner of S. Ann Arbor and E. Henry St. Later she worked in the delivery room when the hospital moved to Mills Rd. She would ask her children’s friends if they were born in Saline telling them she probably helped deliver them if they were. After 18 years she retired and later did volunteer work at the hospital.

Other interests of Bernie’s were baking lots of cookies for her children and friends, eating out at restaurants, reading, history, and fishing. She loved good conversation and enjoyed getting together for neighborhood parties. She also had an interest in the unknown, paranormal, UFOs and late-night radio. She liked all music including big bands such as Glenn Miller. She also took an interest in her children’s music and liked and knew the names of much of the rock band music of the ‘60s and ’70s.

When she would see a woman with a baby she would always stop and talk to the mother. She was a very endearing person and people loved to talk to her. People loved her French accent. She always had a soft heart for children missing one parent because she could relate to them. She always wondered what it would have been like to have a mom, and now she is finally with hers in heaven.

She leaves behind 6 children, Lee (Richard) Baumgartner, Lynne (Ted) Babcock, Laurie (John) Ekenman, Shelly Postyeni, Kelly (Ruth) Ormsby, and Brian Ormsby. She also had 12 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren. She had 7 younger half-siblings whom she outlived.

Friends may join the family for a time of visitation on Thursday, July 28, 2022 from 3:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the Robison-Bahnmiller Funeral Home in Saline. A Mass of the Christian Burial will take place on Friday, July 29, 2022 at 11:30 A.M. at the St. Andrew Catholic Church in Saline with Fr. John Linden as Celebrant. Visitation will also be held at the Church and will be held from 10:30 A.M. until the time of service at 11:30 A.M. A luncheon will follow and will be held at the church. Entombment will take place in the Mausoleum at the Washtenong Memorial Park in Ann Arbor at 3:00 P.M. Memorial contributions in her name may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and envelopes will be available at the funeral home and the Church. To leave a memory you have of Bernadette, to sign her guestbook or for directions please visit www.rbfhsaline.com.

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