Reflection from Theresa

Bernardine Abbott was known by most as “Bunny.” She passed away on Saturday, January 27. She was 94 years old. Her incredible faith journey and constant search for meaning and truth is a legacy that is etched deeply in my being. Her perseverance and resiliency through sickness, defeat, loss, and aging have taught me to never give up. Her constant encouragement and belief in me has buoyed me throughout my life. Her delight in her grand and great-grand-children and unyielding commitment to family has modeled fun, taught me the “power of family” and the importance of staying in there even when it hurts to stay connected. She became a surrogate mother to her nieces and nephews and her love for her brother, Lou Keeler, brought a smile on her face when he would walk in the door. Her commitment to and love for my Dad, Joseph L. Abbott, modeled the lasting love possible in a marriage.

Mom believed in Mary Anne and I and the work we did with Transform, Inc. She was a listening ear, another set of eyes, and most of all, our biggest fan.

I’ll miss my visits, her making the sign of the cross on my car as I left her house, and most of all, her encouragement, appreciation and love for me. On her last day she whispered to me that she will always be with me. I’m gonna hold you to that, Mom!

Bernardine Abbott Obituary

Bernardine “Bunny” (Keeler) Abbott, passed away peacefully on January 27th, 2024, surrounded by family, at the age of 94. Bunny was, first and foremost, a dedicated mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, as well as a loving aunt, cousin, and friend to so many, especially at her homes in West Chester, Pennsylvania; Jupiter, Florida; and White Horse Village in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

She was born and raised in Delaware County, including Drexel Hill and Lansdowne, where she spent her youth. She graduated from Notre Dame High School then went on to earn her undergraduate degree in English from Chestnut Hill College, where she was an engaged alumnae.

Bunny was an artist, therapist and teacher with many years of experience in marriage and family therapy and inner healing ministry. She served her community using art as a path to expression and healing. She conducted hundreds of presentations, workshops, and retreats, and facilitated a weekly art program for homeless and disabled neighbors at St. Agnes Day Room in West Chester and the Southwest Community Enrichment Center in Philadelphia. She was recognized for her service with awards from Chestnut Hill College and the Freedom Valley Girl Scout Council, along with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

A lifelong learner, she was also a graduate of Villanova University with a Master of Arts in and held a Masters of Sciences in Counseling and Human Relations and a Master of Arts in English Literature from West Chester University. She continued to study art and therapy throughout her life, authoring many articles and opinion pieces, and serving as a writer, editor, and member of editorial boards for various publications.

Bunny said “yes” to life every day. She put her two feet on the ground and looked forward to the encounters she would have with others, games of bridge, her book clubs, interesting webinars and classes, a good movie, and most of all, calls with her loved ones. She will be remembered for her perseverance, courage and resiliency through sickness, defeat, loss, and aging, her creativity, and her love for her husband and family.

In her final rest, Bunny joins her parents, Louis and Marcelline Keeler, her siblings, Marcelline Sullivan, Anne McBride, Mary Lou Vogt Kay, William Keeler, her beloved husband, Dr. Joseph Abbott and her eldest son Joseph Abbott Jr. (Stephanie Abbott).

She is survived by her brother Lou Keeler (Morrie), five of her children, Eva Abbott (Van Temple), Louis Abbott (Paola Iuspa-Abbott), Theresa Abbott Gale, Andrew Abbott (Cherie Brummans), and William Abbott (Kathy Abbott), along with her grandchildren (Kat, Molly, Keren, J.J., Bill, Megan, Mary Teresa, Nicole, Patrick, Rachel, Bryan, Christine, and Bernadine Luna), and her great grandchildren (Charli, Ari, Alden, Gia, Kollins, and Addie Grace).

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Maryknoll Sisters, P.O. Box 317 Maryknoll, NY 10545 and/or Chester County Community Foundation, 28 West Market Street, West Chester, PA 19380.