ESTRELITA BERNARDO -- Our Beloved “ Little Star” (1948 - 2014)
Estrelita Cortez Bernardo was born in the rural city of Aliaga, Nueva Ecija Philippines on August 5, 1948. Her parents were both Rice Farmers in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija Philippines. Her is mother- Felicisima Caliwag Cortez (Seamstress ) and her father is Ramon Robles Cortez ( Farmer and Machine Operator).
She has 7 siblings- Reynaldo, Rojelio, Elizabeth, Ruben, Ramon , Yolanda, and Hermiano. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Science and and Education degree. She enjoyed working with children and was once an Elementary School teacher at Betes Elementary School in the Philippines. She moved to Cabanatuan City and eventually married her neighbor – Ruben Soriano Bernardo, a Mechanical Engineer in Cabanatuan City, Philippines.
Estrelita and her husband had always dreamt of the opportunity to move to the United States of America, after they graduate from college. So on October 1st, 1976 they immigrated to Cleveland, OH in the United States with only $100 in their pocket, 2 hand carried suitcases, and lived with his brother Rodolfo Soriano Bernardo in order to survive in Cleveland, OH. After hard work and diligence, that same amount of $100 dollars later grew to$ 18,000 in 16 months by working 2-3 jobs and walking daily 3 - 4 miles to work wether it was rain, sleet, or snow, in order to survive in the US. They eventually were able to accomplish their goal of saving up enough money to buy their first home and helped to immigrate the rest of her 3 children from the Philippines- Roumel, Bernard, Catherine, and a brand new baby- Joyce that awaited in the US. This was the start of her family that she longed to reunite.
They eventually raised all 4 children together - Roumel, Bernard, Catherine, and Joyce. She also has 1 grandchild- Lindsey Tran.
Estrelita was very active as a church member and devoted her time to several organizations helping the Filipino community grow. She was an Active member of PASO, Philippine American Ministry, Couples for Christ, Santa Cruzan, and many prayer groups. She had very strong faith as a devoted Roman Catholic. She always believed in the “ Power of Prayer “ and helping the sick and needy.
She retired serving 27 years as a nurse for Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. She celebrated her retirement by building a brand new home in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Estrelita also known as “Ester” among her peers. She truly enjoyed being around family and friends. She was fun-loving, had a wonderful sense of humor, and loved socializing and celebrating at many gatherings and parties. She was very worldly and enjoyed learning about different cultures. She traveled to England, France, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Hawaii, and enjoyed road trips all over the United States. Ester also enjoyed many other hobbies such as, dancing, photography, art, painting, sewing, designing clothing, and playing with her Grand dogs - Precious, Caesar, Angel, Lucky, Chelsea, Coco, Brownie, and Jojo.
Estrelita was an inspiration to so many people because of her STRENGTH. She was often told that she was the GENERAL of the Family and the COMMANDER in Charge. She helped many of her family members immigrate to America. She wanted everyone to have the opportunity to achieve in life even with very little resources, as she did. She was very thoughtful and was also a protector. Estrelita never wanted anyone to be left behind or be alone to deal with hard problems. She spoke up for others that were afraid to speak up. She represented STRENGTH and TOUGH LOVE. And Yes… She was extremely tough, intense, and she continued to make sure her family, friends, and children were all safe. She provided a sense of Security for everyone. She was selfless, she thought of others before herself. She also never gave up despite her battle with her illnesses after illness. With her experience with helping many patients in the hospitals, she also knew she had to fight and learn to walk again. She eventually would regain her strength… And walk she did.
She truly believed in hard work, loyalty, and faith. She believed that you can achieve anything and overcome any obstacle, once you set your mind to it and ‘ TRUST IN THE LORD”! Despite all her illnesses, she proved to be a “Walking Miracle” as she lived to be 65 years old. Estrelita lived her life to the fullest even til the end.
God has noticed all her accomplishments on Earth so He finally promoted Estrelita Cortez Bernardo as a New “ GENERAL “- ANGEL in HEAVEN, Our “ Little Star “ on April 2, 2014. Her journey with God and all the Angels in Heaven has just begun. She is now a Soaring Angel protecting over everyone she loves. May her memories of STRENGTH continue to Inspire others….