Bernadine’s Happy Ending: A War Widow’s Story

This week I thought I would do something a little different.  I’m not posting a letter, but rather a LIFE magazine article from April 15, 1946 about a war widow named Bernadine Doyle.  I admittedly rolled my eyes upon reading this headline because it seemed to me that the author would be interviewing everyone BUT Bernadine regarding her situation. As I went on to read more, I was impressed with Bernadine’s candid explanation of her experience as a young widowed mother of two sons.   I wanted to share this article with some like-minded people, so I posted the first page of the article on a Facebook group for history lovers of which I’m a member (shout out to the “History Loving Murderinos”).

And then something really cool happened.

It sparked a discussion among some really smart women on the internet who tracked Bernadine down to see if she ultimately ended up with her happy ending.  A huge thanks to Kacie Brown who found both a video interview with Bernadine and her obituary, which are posted below.

First, the article:


And now, a video interview with Bernadine and Al via Getty Images:



And finally, Bernadine’s obituary:



Langfield, Bernadine Mary, 95. Bernie Langfield, was awarded her wings on January 17 at home surrounded by her loving family. Bernie is fondly remembered as Mom, Mother, Sammy, Gram, and Cinderella. Rosary will be held on Sunday, January 22 at 7:00 pm and a Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday January 23 at 10:00 am both at Holy Family Catholic Church, 4377 Utica Street, Denver, Colorado. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Holy Family Catholic Church 4377 Utica Street Denver, CO 80212 & Holy Family High School, 5195 W 144th Avenue, Broomfield, CO 80023 in care of Patty Gabriel. Bernie is survived by her loving sister Loretta (Secord) Domenico Rieckhoff, her children, Jim (Karen) Doyle, Bill (Bonnie) Doyle, Bob (Lynn) Langfield, Bernie (Dick) Treat, Patty (Mike) Gabriel, Jeanne (Blake) Norville, Julie (Dave) Lobato, Kris Langfield, Rick (Tess) Langfield, Scott (Lisa) Langfield, Wendy (Tom) Wessling Her Grandchildren are: Andrew, Emily, Nathan+, Jacob, and Peter Wessling; Adam, Grace, and Josh Langfield;Daniel, Michael, Justin (Megan), Zachary, Samuel+, Shannon and David Langfield; Michaela (Rob) Hill, Lynn (Ray) Medina, Stacey Heronema;Chad (Jenni) Lobato, Carly (Ryan) Schnabel; Aaron (Sandra) Pughes, Jenae (Josh) Niday; Mike (Crystal) Gabriel, Gwen (Andy Berens, Mark, Matt Gabriel; Dianne (Paul) Taylor, Kim (Dell) Taylor, Michelle (Bill) Bishard; Todd Langfield, Cari (Matt) Griffin, Danielle Langfield; Kecia (Dan) Doyle-Green, Bill (Pam) Doyle; Brion (Christina) Doyle, Kevin (Sheri) Doyle, Ami Doyle, Barry (Lauren) Doyle Great Grandchildren John Paul, Mary Katherine, Henry James, Michael Patrick+, and Charles Joseph Doyle; Jack and Morgan Doyle; Connor Doyle-Green; Taryn Doyle; Reily Langfield; Graeme and Declan Griffin; Zach (Caitlyn) Taylor, Travis, and Brenna Taylor; Kyle (Christy) Taylor, Corey, Cody, and Caleb Taylor; Anthony and Alex Bishard, Rocco and Dominic Gabriel; Drew and Gabriel Berens; Nick and Katelyn Gabriel; Neveah, Jared, Emily, Caley, Melanie, and Derek Niday; Austin and Ashlyn Lobato; Lily Schnabel; Kason and Kenzi Hill. Bernie was looking forward to the arrival of her first great-great grandchild later this year. Bernie was preceded in death by her husband Al Langfield, her husband Shelton Doyle; by her parents, Bill and Alice Secord; her sister Beverly Hart and her brothers Don, Bill and Ken Secord.


As we enter into 2019, nearly 73 years after Bernadine’s article was published in LIFE, I hope you remember that second chances and happiness are possible, even under complicated circumstances.

Happy New Year!

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Welcome, I'm Jessica. I renovated and moved into my grandparents' old home in early 2018. When my grandmother Jane was alive, she loved to sit outside on a swing with her cat Boots (who still lives here) and read. As we were cleaning up around the house I found a box of letters sitting in a swing outside that she was going through in the time before she passed. I stored them away and recently started reading through them myself. 100 Years of Letters is intended to share those family letters (some of which are over 100 years old) with the world and to keep the history behind them alive. Curl up with your coffee, a cozy blanket, and possibly a cat, and join me on this journey through history!

10 thoughts on “Bernadine’s Happy Ending: A War Widow’s Story”

    1. Hi! I just found your blog and wanted to let you know I’m Bernadine’s (Bernie) granddaughter. I was actually googling looking for the video clip made as a follow up to the Life magazine article about my Grammy and Pop Pop when I found your article. Thank you for sharing her story! She had an amazing life!


      1. Thank you Gwen! It certainly seems that she did! It has made me so happy that I got to learn about her life. I’m grateful my grandmother saved the magazine and so happy you all liked the article! ☺️


  1. My name is Dianne Taylor and I am one of Bernie Langfield’s granddaughters. I stumbled across your blog because I was feeling a little nostalgic and missing my grandmother and I know there are several articles about her on the web. She was a very optimistic and energetic woman and everyone who met her fell in love with her. Since her death, we have been going through many of her letters that she received from the Life Magazine article and even letters that she received from her first husband, Shelton, who was killed in the war. The letters are a fascinating look at American life during a most turbulent time. After reading your profile, I can tell we are kindred spirits when it comes to reading old letters, it just makes their stories become more real and emotional when you read about it first hand from their point of view. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, Dianne! Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I loved coming across her story. I’m so sorry you’re missing her…she seemed like a lovely person, and I suspect you inherited that trait as well. 🙂


  2. My name is Bernie Treat, oldest daughter Al and Bernie Langfield ( yes the one squirming in the video) I discovered this blog just last night as I was reminiscing about our parents and the wonderful life they gave us. We are also so very grateful to Shelton Doyle for giving us our two amazing oldest bothers, Jim and Bill. We were what you now call a blended family but never thought of our family as that. We were just one big happy family together.
    Thank you so much for this article. It came to me at a time when I was missing both of them and it made me smile.


  3. Hello, My name is Julie Langfield Lobato. I am one of Bernie Secord Doyle Langfield’s 11 children. This article surfaced again this Christmas…2019. How wonderful for all of us to see the legacy of her continue. We as a family were/are so proud of our parents and feel so blessed she was our MOM. She had her share of heartaches through her 95 years of life, but she would never tell you she suffered. She faced each day with grace and the ability to smile and be happy. What a wonderful thing this website is to bring treasured memories and times to the present day. Thank you.


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