Bernadine Baluh Toland, 88

February 8, 1932 - August 26, 2020

Bernadine “Bernie” Baluh Toland, 88, departed for eternity in the presence of God on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, from Newport Meadows Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, Christiana, PA. Born at home in Brier Hill, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Bernie was the youngest daughter of the late George P. and Mary M. (Vitikacs) Baluh and preceded in death by oldest sister Eleanor (age 4). After graduating from St. John Catholic High School of Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1950, Bernie moved to Washington, D.C. She lived and worked in diverse administrative support roles in and around the Washington Metropolitan Area during the 1950s and 60s, alternating with extended periods of residence and employment in Uniontown PA and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In 1966, Bernie married John S. Toland of Washington, D.C. They later welcomed a daughter, Kelly Ann, while living in Bethesda, Maryland. The family eventually relocated to Lewes, Delaware, where Bernie worked for a time as a case manager for Sussex County Probation and Parole. During this season, she had what she would always describe as “a life-changing encounter with Jesus”, who was the center of her life from then on. For the rest of her life, Bernie would share her faith and words of encouragement as well as prayer with those who crossed her path and seemed to be in need. Following a brief residence in Eagan, Minnesota, the family again relocated, this time to Western New York. After living in East Aurora and Orchard Park for several years and attending Full Gospel Tabernacle, Bernie moved to Montgomery County, Maryland with Kelly in 1981, where they attended Halpine Church. In 1989, following Kelly’s marriage in Chile to Mr. Hugo Avila of Argentina, Bernie returned to Sussex County, Delaware and her beloved beaches.

Dagsboro Community Church was an important part of her life during that season. She continued to take watercolor classes and served as a hospice volunteer for a time. After Kelly and Hugo relocated with their children to Pennsylvania in 2005, Bernie found a home in 2007 at the Carriage House of Hill Farm Estate, Annville PA, where she lived until moving in with Kelly and family in 2016. While living in Annville, she enjoyed taking watercolor classes in Mount Gretna and in Lebanon, and participation with Freedom in Christ Fellowship Church and Fairland BIC church at different times. After moving to Leola with Kelly and family, Bernie enjoyed participating at Stumptown Mennonite Church, where she was also blessed by the warm caring of a group of women who facilitated her transportation to the Eden West Adult Day Services program at Landis Homes.

Bernie loved being at the beach, as well as dancing, painting, and other creative expressions. In later years, she especially enjoyed her dog, Gigi, and a good game of gin rummy. She was a faithful friend, a gracious hostess, a devoted mother, and was known for having a mind of her own. A long, slow battle with Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes took its toll, but even so, Bernie overcame the initial impact of COVID-19 in April of this year. During the last week of her life, Bernie was surrounded by love, prayer, worshipful music and readings from the Bible as she prepared to leave this world. Bernie is survived by her daughter, Kelly Ann Toland (husband Hugo Avila), her grandchildren Emily (husband Wilfredo Riquelme) Avila and Daniel (Regina née Witmeyer) Avila, great-grandchildren Benjamin, Sophia, and Emma along with a fourth great-grandchild due in September, as well as her sister Mary Ann (Baluh) Sajsa and Marie Sajsa of Kenmore, NY. Interment will be with her parents in St. Mary Nativity Cemetery, Uniontown, PA.

Leave a condolence on this Memorial Page

Be sure to include your name

Please note that your condolence will not appear on this page until it is reviewed. Condolences usually appear within 24 hours of being submitted.

Condolences to the Family

July 10, 2023

Bernie became a good friend of mine when she lived in Buffalo for a brief time. We worked together at Buffalo City Mission around 1989-90. I visited her afterward once at her sister’s home in Kenmore. We kept in touch when she moved to Delaware after that. I always enjoyed Bernie’s company and the interesting conversations we had. She obviously loved the Lord dearly and spoke lovingly of her daughter Kelly in Chile and her grandchildren. I am comforted to find her obituary and to hear that she passed peacefully into the arms of Jesus.Barbara Woglom (Orchard Park)

September 03, 2020

Kelly, Your written thoughts of your mom and her life are beautiful.  You are a loving and faithful daughter.  Your mother was a good friend and I regret that my attempts to visit in Pennsylvania did not happen.  It is wonderful to hear that her passing to everlasting life was filled with peace and worship. I know that being with both my parents at the time of their passing was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I see her in my mind’s eye freely dancing and singing unabashedly in the presence of her Lord and Savior and best friend.  Much love to you and your precious family.  Robin and Art

September 02, 2020

Dear Kelly,
We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother.  What a beautiful life story you wrote about her!  May God’s peace temper the pain of her absence.   Blessings and hugs from our family to yours.
love, Brian and Laura Whitaker

Send Flowers Online

Offering Lancaster, PA funeral services for over 75 years.

Our six funeral homes in Lancaster County makes it easy and convenient to make arrangements and host services close to home.

  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Downtown Lancaster
  • 414 East King St.
  • 717-393-9661
  • Charles F. (Chip) Snyder, Jr. Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Lititz Pike
  • 3110 Lititz Pike
  • 717-560-5100
  • Charles F. (Chad) Snyder, III Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Millersville
  • 441 North George St.
  • 717-872-5041
  • Mark D. Burkholder Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Spacht-Snyder Family Funeral Home Lititz, PA
  • 127 South Broad St.
  • 717-626-2317
  • Jacqueline Adamson Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Bachman-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory Strasburg, PA
  • 7 South Decatur Street
  • 717-687-7644
  • Norman T. Mable Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Willow Street, PA
  • 2421 Willow Street Pike
  • 717-464-4600
  • Kelly Gramola Townsend Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info