Alberta March Kernich, née Dobonick, 96, of Mount Olive, was called home to her Heavenly Father on September 3, 2020. In God’s mysterious way, this date would have been her late husband’s 97th birthday.
Born on March 15, 1924, Alberta enjoyed the distinction of living longer than any of her ancestors. She was married to Victor Kernich for over 62 years. He preceded her in death in 2007. She lost her son, James “Jim” Roger Kernich in an automobile accident in 1970. Her older sister, Roselene Lorenz, née Dobonick, and younger brother, Robert, also preceded her in death.
Alberta was born in Mount Olive, Illinois, the second child of the late Frieda Dobonick, née Albert, and Peter Dobonick. She married Victor Kernich on October 13, 1945, in Immanuel Lutheran Church, Mount Olive. Reverend Edward Widenhoefer officiated. Alberta and Victor had three sons: David Victor (wife Donna), the late James Roger, and Brian Dean (wife Peggy). They had five granddaughters: Dana and Dawn (daughters of David and Donna); and Krystina, Courtney, and Rachael (daughters of Brian and Peggy). Alberta was recently blessed with a great granddaughter, Valerie, daughter of Dawn and her husband, Jordan Kettler.
The focus of Alberta’s life was her faith and her family. She often shared wonderful memories of picking blackberries with her dad and participating in gymnastics classes, led by instructor Carl Lange, at Mount Olive’s Turner Hall. She attended Mount Olive Public Schools, graduating with the MOCHS class of 1942. Playing the clarinet in the school band was a highlight of her high school years.
After marrying in 1945, Alberta and Victor lived briefly in Rock Island, Illinois, as Victor’s career with the John Hancock Life Insurance Company advanced. During the subsequent decades, the couple moved where Victor’s work took them. They lived in several Central Illinois communities, including Mount Olive, as well as more diverse locations like Nashville, Tennessee, and San Antonio, Texas. They eventually settled in Bethalto, Illinois, where they founded V. V. Kernich & Associates, an insurance and securities brokerage. Following the tragic loss of their son, Jim, in 1970, Alberta and Victor established the first scholarship at Mount Olive High School in Jim’s memory. Fifty years later, the award continues to be offered each year to a graduating senior.
Alberta was always actively involved in church and community activities. She sang in the choir and belonged to the Altar Guild, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, Lydia Circle, Parent Teachers Organization, and Mount Olive Senior Citizens, among others. She was a Den Mother in the Mount Olive Cub Scouts and regularly attended her sons’ and granddaughters’ sporting activities.
Alberta retired to Mount Olive in 2005. She loved gardening, reading, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish. She relished visits with her granddaughters and playing games like Bunco and Rummikub.
The rite of Christian burial was offered on September 7 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Mount Olive. Reverend James Ritter and Reverend Willard Meyer officiated. Committal and internment in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery followed. Pallbearers were Krystina Kernich, Charles Dobrinick, Jordan Kettler, Andrew Mayer, Jacob Niehaus, Damon Parker, Charles Cruthis, and Michael Viehweg. Honorary pallbearers were Dana Kernich, Dawn Kettler, Courtney Kernich, and Rachael Kernich.
The Kernich family deeply mourns the loss of Alberta as a loving mother, grandmother, and friend, but takes comfort in the eternal happiness promised to her in Matthew 25:21: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
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