Veronica “Niki” Dolores Bernadis, age 40, of Holyoke, passed away peacefully at home Dec. 17 after a brief, non-COVID-related illness.
Niki loved all kinds of animals from cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, bearded dragons, and more, and rescued as many as she could. A talented and sought-after body piercer, she was known for her ability to put people at ease, and her kindness to all living beings. She was quick-witted with a very dry sense of humor, and was always the sharpest, quickest, loudest and funniest member of her family. Any family gathering was made brighter by her presence.
Born in Northampton Nov. 11, 1980, she was the daughter of Shelley McCormick of Hatfield and the late Alan Bernadis. She grew up in Northampton and Hatfield and was a 1998 graduate of Northampton High School. She had lived in Holyoke for the last 15 years.
Her love of animals was obvious in her work as a veterinary tech at Valley Vet in Hadley, where she worked until 2001. She had also worked as a bartender at Hugo’s.
She left Valley Vet to work as a piercer at Lucky’s in Northampton, where she was a customer favorite. She had an uncanny ability to put people at ease, was very upbeat and could always make people laugh and feel comfortable. She was a genius at helping people select the right jewelry and was hyper-conscientious about safety and hygiene. She also studied medical piercing and freed people from migraine pain and other ailments. Niki worked there until October 2020, when she was let go.
Niki had a smile for everyone she met. People loved talking to her because she was a great listener and really heard every word you said. Her family always came first, and fortunately for others, she made people she met feel like family too. She had compassion for everyone and would not only occasionally buy meals for homeless people, she would also buy small bags of dog food for their dogs. She was a tremendously caring person and would always be there when help was needed.
She loved her animals abundantly and often put their needs above her own. Some of them went everywhere with her, and her bloodhounds, Emma and Abby, were frequent happy passengers in her car.
Besides her mother and her mother’s partner, Bud Lightfoot, she leaves her brother, Seth Ustaitis, of Dracut, his wife Jolene, their three daughters, Ava, Harlan, and Layla, and many loving aunts, uncles, and cousins.
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Second Chance Animal Shelter
111 Young Road PO Box 136, East Brookfield MA 01515
Web: http://secondchanttn.Lindsay Doray.ceanimals.org