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Bernadine "Sam" C. Kyle

February 26th, 1932 - May 12th, 2024

Bernadine C. "Sam" Kyle, a dedicated advocate for education, human rights, and the power of reading, passed away on May 12, 2024, at the age of 92. Born on February 26, 1932, in Pinckneyville, Illinois, to Bernard Conaughty and Harriet O'Neil Conaughty, she spent her formative years in Dearborn, Michigan.


Sam's commitment to education was evident from an early age. After obtaining her Bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1954, she embarked on a journey to inspire young minds as a high school teacher in San Diego, California. It was there that she met her beloved husband, Cdr. Kenneth William Kyle, who served in the US Navy. They met at a party in Sam's building and their love story blossomed amidst the backdrop of military life, taking them from San Diego to Subic Bay, Philippines. Sam joined him there after the birth of their first child, Alexandra "Sandy" in 1957. They returned to San Francisco, California in 1959 and made a family home there in Pleasant Hill, California where their second child, Elizabeth "Betsy" was born in 1962. They then eventually made it to Lafayette, California.


Initially out of college, Sam worked for the U.S. State Department and worked at the US Embassy in Saigon, Vietnam until 1956.  After she married, she was a homemaker, but Sam's thirst for knowledge and her passion for modern office work led her back to school in the late 1970s. She became a proficient Office Administrator, excelling in her career until her retirement in 1994. Sam and Ken then relocated to Hillside Retirement Community in McMinnville, Oregon, where they embraced community involvement and volunteerism, including at the McMinnville Public Library, the Book Club at Hillside, and being a member of the Residents' Panel.


A voracious reader with a particular fondness for mysteries, Sam's love for books knew no bounds. She was a regular fixture at the McMinnville Public Library, where her enthusiasm for reading and learning was contagious. She was known to read 5 to 7 books per week on a wide range of subjects. A devoted grandmother, she cherished every moment with her granddaughter Holly Anne, nurturing a love for exploration and learning in the next generation.


Sam's advocacy extended beyond the realm of literature. She was a vocal supporter of human and women's rights, never hesitating to speak her mind on issues she held dear. Her steadfast friendship was marked by honesty and unwavering support for those she cared about.


In her memory, Sam leaves behind her daughters Alexandra "Sandy" Kyle of San Leandro, CA, and Elizabeth "Betsy" Shoopman of Dublin, CA, along with her granddaughter Holly Anne Shoopman. She will be deeply missed by all whose lives she touched with her kindness, wisdom, and passion for making the world a better place.


Sam's legacy lives on in the countless lives she influenced and the ideals she championed. As we bid farewell to a remarkable woman, may we honor her memory by continuing her legacy of lifelong learning, empathy, and advocacy for a more just and literate world.


At Sam's request, no services are to be held. Instead, she asked that those who knew her gather together in her honor; that is enough. Let us celebrate her remarkable life with laughter, fond memories, and the warmth of shared companionship, just as she would have wanted.

We Entrusted Bernadine Kyle's Care To

Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral Home

Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral Home

At Wilhelm's Portland Memorial, we have a rich history dating back to 1901 when we became the first crematory west of the Mississippi River, known then as The Portland Cremation Association. Our historic chapel, marked by its cornerstone placed on February 5th, 1901, has stood the test of time. Today, our memorial site spans 8 stories, approximately 7 miles of corridors of beautifully preserved architecture, and the largest mausoleum on the west coast, spanning 2.5 city blocks.

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Share a favorite memory, send condolences, and honor Bernadine’s life with a heartfelt message.

Warren Jaycox

To know Sam is to know countless superlatives that describe this wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. My family and I lived across the street from Sam in Lafayette. Fond memories are a lasting tribute to Sam, truly a lasting and precious friend.

Published July 3rd, 2024

Sandy Kyle

We miss you Mom. You were a good Mom and Grandmother, and more so a great friend. Thank you.

Published June 28th, 2024

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