January 31, 1926 — May 19, 2022


   SPARTA - Bernadine Ann Van Kirk, 96, of Sparta, died Thursday, May 19, 2022 at Morrow Memorial Home, Sparta. She was born January 31, 1926 in Tomah, WI to Paul and Lydia (Bold) Schmeider.

   Bernadine married Ralph N. Van Kirk of Sparta in November of 1947. They moved to Milwaukee, WI with their daughter, Barbara, in 1948. In 1972 they relocated to Santa Barbara, CA because of Ralph’s job transfer. She regularly volunteered at the Boys & Girls Clubs charity shop in Santa Barbara. She enjoyed car trips in the West and the warmer climate of California. However, home and family called them back to Sparta when Ralph retired.  Bernie enjoyed spending time with family, taking trips, and interacting with people. She was always a kind, warm, and loving person; and an Extra Special Mom!

   She is survived by her daughter, Barbara (Van Kirk) Ryan; grandson Mathew R. Ryan; and 3 step grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister Beverly (Rich) Heilman, of Tomah; and 18 nieces and nephews.

   She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph N. Van Kirk; son-in-law, Bruce Ryan; 5 brothers: Virgil Schmeider, Paul Schmeider, Martin Schmeider, Clayton Rich, and Charles Rich; 2 sisters: Marie (Schmeider) Smith and Irene (Rich) Jensen; and 12 nieces and nephews.

   On Saturday, June 18, 2022, a memorial service will be held at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation beginning at 12:00 noon for a light lunch and remembrances, followed by a prayer service at 1:00 pm, with Father Eric Berns officiating. Burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery, Sparta at 2:00 pm.

   A celebration of Life will be held at 5:30 pm at The American Legion Hall (1116 Angelo Rd, Sparta) on Saturday, June 18, 2022, for dinner and refreshments.

   Donations may be made in Bernadine’s honor to the Morrow Home Foundation, and are appreciated.

   Online condolences may be offered at

   Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.

Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation