Paulino Deanda Bernal of McAllen, Texas died Saturday, September 10 at 7:22 p.m. at the age of 83.
He was born on June 22, 1939 in Raymondville, Texas. He was raised modestly by his single mother in Kingsville, Texas. At age 9, he started playing guitar at a local bar to help his mother financially with the tips he received. Soon after, he learned to play the accordion and formed the Conjunto Bernal.
His signature energetic accordion playing style became the hallmark of Conjunto Bernal’s fame, making him an outstanding performer and pioneer of the Tejano genre.
As such, he was instrumental in discovering and pioneering the careers of many other musicians, and is known for his extreme generosity, camaraderie, and work ethic. He has inspired generations of musicians to follow in his footsteps. In 1968, at the request of soldiers in Vietnam, President Johnson assigned Conjunto Bernal to entertain troops in Vietnam for three weeks.
In 2008, Mr. Bernal’s solo album El Maestro Del Acordeón Y Sus Polkas was nominated for a Grammy Award. Bernal is the senior pastor of the McAllen Vale Worship Center, a church he founded with his wife and son that includes congregations in several cities in southern Texas and northern Mexico.
He is the founder, principal accordionist and vocalist of Conjunto Bernal, founder of La Radio Cristiana Network, Inc., Bernal Christian Recordings and Paulino Bernal Evangelism. Before him are his father Paulino Bernal Senior, mother Guadalupe Deanda Bernal, grandson Roland Emmanuel Bernal, brother Eloy Deanda Bernal, sister Elvira Bernal Urquizo, sister Guadalupe Benson, brother Paulino Bernal Jr. and brother Alfonso Bernal. His wife Mary Byington Bernal, daughter Linda (Jay) Villarreal, son Paulino Jr. (Elizabeth) Bernal, son Eloy (Annette) Bernal, daughter Sonia (D.J.) Villarreal, daughter Carilu (Chris) Bernal-Polvado, daughter Yesenia (Josué) ) Bernal-Saravia. Also 15 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and the following siblings: Brother Luis Bernal, Sister Julia Bernal Earnest, Manuela Bernal Rodriguez, Lydia Bernal Ortiz, Ramona Bernal Espinoza, Richard Bernal, Oscar Bernal, Héctor Bernal, Alfredo Bernal.