Archive | April, 2017

Major Tragedy

24 Apr

Here is the obituary I wrote for Sylvia – my life-long friend, lover and companion. I met her in Germany in 1963 — she was 22 years old. She died last Sunday from fatal injuries suffered in a cycling accident. She was on her own and somehow fell off the bike.



BRESNIK – Sylvia Teresa (born Sylvia Bergin)  October 9, 1940 to April 17, 2017

Sylvia was born in Dublin, Ireland. At 21 she left Ireland to work in Germany. She met John Bresnik in August 1963 at the snack bar on the Army base where John was stationed in Augsburg, Germany. They began dating in January of 1964. In the Fall, he returned to his home town of Los Angeles. She followed in January and they were married on June 12, 1965 in Pacific Palisades.

They lived in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica from June of ’65 until March of ’77. Four of their five children were born in Santa Monica. They sold their house in Santa Monica and moved a hundred miles south to Escondido. In October, their fifth child was born.  There are now five grandchildren.

Pauline and her family live in London. John and his family live in Brooklyn, NY. Angela and family live in Ellicott City, Maryland. Robert lives in San Diego, and Steve (and his wife Marci) live in Escondido.

Sylvia had been a triathlete since the mid-eighties. She did dozens of triathlons, mostly in California. She ran marathons – Los Angeles, London, Dublin, San Diego.  She did several century bike rides – 100 miles and sometimes 5000 feet of climbing. She climbed Mt. Whitney twice and Half Dome in Yosemite twice. She went swimming at the Y every MWF at 5:30 in the morning. Then on TuThSat she went running for an hour at Lake Hodges. Sunday was bike day. She and her good buddies would ride between 40 and 50 miles every Sunday morning.

Her last bike ride was on Easter Sunday, 2017. She had just returned from London the night before and she was anxious to get back on her bike. She rode solo that morning and at approximately 9:00 AM she somehow fell off her bike while riding down a long grade just north of Escondido. There were no witnesses. Within two hours of her arrival at the Palomar ER she had no brain activity and a day later she was pronounced dead at 7:11 PM, April 17, 2017.

She worked as the receptionist at Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido for twenty years. She was very active in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) for many years and was a group leader for eight of those years.

She loved red wine and had a glass most evenings. She was an excellent cook and baker. Always cooked from “scratch” – nothing canned or boxed.

She is survived by her husband of 52 years, John Bresnik and her five children: Pauline, Robert, John, Angela and Stephen. She had five grandchildren: Skyler, Julia, Bella, Eli and Nicole.

Her favorite Bible verse: “… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

Service will be at Emmanuel Faith in Escondido on Saturday, April 29th at 1:00 PM.

She was a legend in her own time.


Now comes something I thought would never happen. I was supposed to go first — I had triple bypass surgery in 2001 and I’ve had two heart attacks since that time…  life isn’t fair, is it.

If you want to write, my email address is