Ernest “Ernie” Walter Bernal, age 71, formerly of Rawlins, Wyoming, passed away on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at Rawlins Rehabilitation and Wellness Center following a lengthy illness of emphysema. Ernest was born on November 27, 1948 at home in Cleveland, New Mexico to the late Abenencio “Joe A.” and Seferina “Maria” (Sanchez) Bernal. When Ernest was 5 years old, his parents and his eight brothers and sisters moved to Rawlins, Wyoming. Ernest attended public school in Rawlins and did move away occasionally, but his love for home always brought him back. He married Frances Saiz from Ely, Nevada on May 20, 1966 and together they had three wonderful children. Although they divorced on July 29, 1985; they stayed close and cherished their friendship. Ernie worked for General Motors in Pontiac, Michigan until he had his first episode with Schizophrenia; at which time his mental health declined and he became disabled. He struggled with mental illness most of his adult life, and always wanted people to understand he did not choose to live that way. He once said, “I would give anything to not have my mind play games on me!” Ernie believed that awareness and education was the key to ending the stigma against mental illness. Ernie had a big heart and was empathetic and tolerant of all in need. His love for animals was so natural and unique; as a child he was always trying to talk mom and dad into letting him have a pet. He taught himself to play guitar and loved to sit around and play music with his family and friends. He also loved to hunt and fish and remembered doing so with dad. Although, Ernie struggled in life, he always felt grateful for his life and family and their support, and he loved spending time with family. Ernest will be sadly missed by his three adult children and their families; son, Ernest, Jr. (Kami) Bernal; grandchildren, Mikael; Robert; Daniel; Sierra (Ethan Seekins); Aaron; and Bradon Bernal; great grandchildren, Landon, Jameson, and Brooklyn Bernal; Meriya Sheeley; Nolanda Lindsmeir; and Ripley Seekins all from Rock Springs. WY. Son, Rosario Fredrick Bernal; grandchildren, Desiree; Cruz; Rosario Leland, and Ava Bernal, great grandchildren, Carlea and Titan Bernal as well from Rock Springs, WY. Daughter, Valerie Ruiz; and granddaughters, Alyssa and Vanessa Ruiz all from Las Vegas, Nevada; five sisters, Maria Ortez from Pontiac, MI; Toni Leal from Cheyenne, WY; Vangie (Duce) Warren from Golden, CO, and Lillian Guevara and Marilynn (James) Ross from Rawlins, Wyoming; a sister-in-law, Regina Bernal from Las Vegas, NV, three brothers, Adolph (Irene) from Rawlins, WY, Albert from Pontiac, MI, and Robert (Rosie) from Denver, CO; and over 100 nieces and nephews. Ernest was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Felicia Bernal from Ely NV; parents, Mr. & Mrs. Joe A. Bernal of Rawlins; three brothers, Juan from Albuquerque, NM, Ernest from Cleveland, NM, and Rudy Bernal from Las Vegas, NV; a sister, Ramona Anna Stroud from Rawlins, WY; sisters-in-law, Vangie Bernal from Albuquerque, NM and Betty Lou Bernal from Pontiac, MI; several brothers-in-law, Roberto Ortez from Pontiac, MI, Leslie Leal from Cheyenne, WY; Jack W. Stroud, and Vicente Guevara both from Rawlins, WY; and several nephews. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at Jacoby Funeral Home, 702 W. Walnut Street, Rawlins, Wyoming, officiated by Ernest’s nephew, Pastor Adrian A. Bernal, D.Min. The family would like to express our thanks for the wonderful care and support given by the Wyoming State Hospital throughout Ernest’s adult life. You were so good to our dad, grandpa, brother, and uncle! Jacoby Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Tributes and condolences may be offered online at www.jacobycares.com
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