Thursday, February 29, 2024

Girardville Mourns the Loss of "Bernie"

Girardville and Northern Schuylkill County are mourning following the passing of Bernadine “Bernie” Leona Chupasko, a beloved figure known for her warm smile and dedication to Tony’s Lunch, where she spent 59 years of her life serving screamers.
Bernie, passed away at the age of 93 at the Schuylkill Center nursing home in Pottsville on Tuesday, February 27, was more than just a waitress; she was a cornerstone of the community. Her legacy extends far beyond the walls of the famous Tony’s Lunch on 23 E. Main Street.

Born and raised in Girardville, Bernie epitomized the values of hard work and dedication. Starting at Tony’s Lunch around the age of 14 when her family owned the restaurant, Bernie's commitment to serving others never wavered. Even after the restaurant changed hands, she remained a steadfast presence, serving up not just the iconic ‘Screamer’ burgers but also endless amounts of kindness and care.

Despite her nearly seven decades of service, Bernie took only one day of sick leave.

Bernie official retired from Tony's in 2014 and always remained humble.

At her retirement party in 2014, she was taken aback by the outpouring of affection from customers and well-wishers, remarking, “I didn't think to see anything like this.”

But Bernie’s impact reached far beyond the confines of Tony’s Lunch. She became a local celebrity, recognized wherever she went in Schuylkill County. Fondly referred to as the ‘defacto’ mayor of Girardville, Bernie's warmth and kindness endeared her to generations of residents.

In 2021, the community came together to celebrate Bernie's 90th birthday with a parade of vehicles that rolled past her home on West Mahanoy Avenue, a moment she cherished deeply.

Bernie is survived by her children, Roseanne, Michael, and Joseph, as well as her grandchildren, Sal, Matthew, and JoyAnne. Though she experienced the loss of a daughter, Margaret, in 2021, Bernie's strength and resilience remained unwavering.

A devout Catholic, Bernie's faith was central to her life. She was a longtime member of St. Joseph’s Church and St. Vincent de Paul in Girardville.

Friends and community members are invited to pay their respects at the Thomas M. Sullivan Funeral Home in Girardville on Sunday evening and Monday morning. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, March 4th, at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church, with Rev. Giuseppe Esposito officiating. Interment will follow at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Fountain Springs.