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Bryna J. Kullgren, the firstborn child of Isaac Sernoffsky & Beulah Amberg, was born on September 27th, 1918 in Buffalo, New York. She died peacefully on October 15, 2020, after a long and well lived life - self-reliant, congenial, dependable, and adventurous.
In November of 1926 Bryna’s father, a prominent Buffalo ophthalmologist, unexpectedly died leaving behind his wife and 5 young children. Life for the family radically changed and through the years, as her mother worked to provide for the family, Bryna looked after her brothers & sisters – earning her nickname ‘Bossy Bryna’. In her senior year at Buffalo’s Bennett High School she met John Kullgren. After dating for 5 years, John, who was by then in the Army Air Corps, wished to marry Bryna but wanted to wait until after the war. Bryna, of course, had other ideas. It didn’t take Kullie long to come around to her way of thinking. She rendezvoused with him in New Jersey, where they eloped on August 7, 1942.
Shortly thereafter, the Army Air Corps sent John to Williams Field in Chandler, Arizona, and Bryna soon followed, briefly working as ‘the lousiest waitress ever’. Before long Kullie was deployed to the Philippines, and Bryna returned home to Buffalo and her job at L.L. Berger department store. After the war they decided to move from Buffalo to Los Angeles and on the trip west stopped in Mesa, Arizona to visit friends. Kullie was offered a job with the U.S. Post Office in Mesa, so they decided to stay. Bryna went to work at O.S. Stapley Hardware as ‘the office girl’ in their machine shop working for a cranky boss and learning more than she ever wanted to know about hardware, tractors, cold rolled steel, and the like. In 1951 they transferred to Bakersfield, California, where Kullie delivered downtown mail for 30 years. Bryna went to work for Sears & Roebuck in downtown Bakersfield working in customer service & unit control. In 1967 Sears moved to the new Valley Plaza Mall, where Bryna continued to work in unit control /purchasing until her retirement in 1981.
Bryna & Kullie had over 51 wonderful years together traveling the world, making friends wherever they went, and enjoying life with family and friends. For over 40 fun-filled, adventurous years they were best friends with Vern & Maude Oldershaw and Keith & Dorothy Thompson. Maude & Bryna were friends by heart & sisters by soul, even shared a September 27th birthday, and escaped to the skies in Maude’s airplane every chance they had.
After Kullie’s death in 1994, Bryna kept busy with volunteering. She tutored in local elementary schools, and for 12 years she manned the front desk at the Volunteer Center of Kern County directing traffic and keeping everyone entertained. When her colleagues asked where she wanted to celebrate her 94th birthday, she bodaciously responded, ‘HOOTERS!’ It was a great party, and there are photos to prove it! She continued to travel with friends & family. In 2003 she moved to a Carriage House apartment, where she lived for the past 17 years.
As Bryna wished, no services are planned. She is survived by her baby brother Bob Sernoffsky of Kennebunk, Maine, niece Judi Coder of Buffalo NY, nephews Tom & Tim Donovan, as well as special friends Janice Benson, the Barnes/Hobart Family & the Cheever family. To all who knew her, Bryna was a treasure – always young-at-heart, fiercely independent, gracious, amusing & delightfully audacious. We are all blessed for having her in our lives.
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