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Alumni Spotlight: Bernadette (Dufour) Lathrop '64

Bernadette Lathrop started running half-marathons over three years ago to keep up with her husband Jim Lathrop '63, who was competing in marathons.

Name: Bernadette (Dufour) Lathrop
Year of Scecina graduation: 1964
Degree:  History/Political Science, Indiana University, 1997
Current Position: Retired, former co-owner of Dufour's in Irvington

By Bernadette Lathrop 

From running a restaurant to running half-marathons across the country … that seems like a lot of coming and going! They were both very big steps to take. When I was a young woman, I had a long, lingering thought down deep to have a restaurant. But it was just a thought. Actually, I also had another lingering in that deep spot, which was to go to law school. My move back home to the Irvington neighborhood in Indianapolis after many years away held a plan unknown to me at that time. The plan, only Providence knew, was that Jill Lashbrook and the antique mall by Jack and Jill in Irvington would become something else. And I would begin a new journey. 

My sister Maria and I made a decision to start a small coffee shop in the antique mall. The initial response was so welcoming. It was way beyond anything we could imagine. The corner of Washington Street and Audubon in Irvington got a new landlord and the birthing of our own Dufour’s in Irvington was accomplished.

We saw the good, the bad, the ugly in those early years. Irvington had devolved since we were kids roaming Washington Street between Audubon Road and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. But we took a chance, and we succeeded. My daily mantra was: God will provide. Almost 20 years later, Dufour’s in Irvington clearly had left its mark. It started something in Irvington that continues today as the community has been revived by new businesses and restaurants and new residents,

The decision to exit the restaurant business was difficult. Leaving on a high note was the final goal. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, in person, presented us with a city proclamation and declarations on our closing day in January 2016. That adventure truly was built on faith. I had made the transition rather slowly once I “retired from and sold” the restaurant to Maria. I had just remarried. Jim Lathrop ‘63 was a marathon runner. He encouraged me to turn my energy toward a new goal. I ran my first Indianapolis Mini in 2011 at age 65. Thought I could do better, so I ran the Mini again in 2012.

About this time Jim and I were traveling to his various races, for he had made the decision to do a marathon in all 50 states. Jim always would designate a spot for me to be “by that tree” or “by that statue” so we could connect at the end of his race. Then I could be there with whatever he may have needed after the race. Well, I just was not good at staying “by the tree” or “by that statue” as directed. I wanted to see him cross the finish line. After “missing my mark” a couple of times and “getting into trouble,” I said, “What the heck? I have been training for half-marathons. I will just register and do the half marathon while he does his full. That way I should, without a doubt, be at the end when he finishes!” That is my story and I am sticking to it. 

As of 2016, 3 ½ years later and at 70 years, I have completed 31 half-marathons in 29 states. I have found that faith has only become deeper as I have been given the years to experience all facets of life.

Scecina was a faith builder in my younger years. Some super sisters and priests gave us a new perspective on life and faith. (After all, it was HIGH SCHOOL!) The fact that our parents wanted all 10 of us to go to Catholic schools from grade school though college only aided in the exposure. My years at Scecina are extremely fond ones. I met and still cross paths with classmates who are the best, faith-filled Christians I know. Since Jim and I have married, that circle of Crusaders has broadened and I have renewed past acquaintances. I understand, oh so well now, how quietly the seeds of faith can be sowed when we are young and that God does provide. 

15 comments (Add your own)

1. Mike Griffin wrote:
Bernadette ,
Great story......I do miss the wonderful days having those great grilled cheese sandwiches at DuFour's with my Scecina buddies Tom and Mike. God Bless you and Jim.
Mike G.

Thu, October 6, 2016 @ 3:36 PM

2. jim lathrop wrote:
Bernadette continues to be an inspiration to me...from "not a runner" to a goal of completing a half marathon in each of 50 states. I have learned to not tell her, "you can't do that" because I know she not on can do that but she will. She definitely has a mind of her own, probably learned from good old Scecina Memorial. I am very proud of her and love watching her pursue her goal. You go are almost there!

Thu, October 6, 2016 @ 9:30 PM

3. Sussanne Dufour Sullivan '58 wrote:
Bernadette is not only one of my "little
sisters" but also one of my best friends.
We have been through many ups and downs
together! She is an inspiration to many,
faithful and true. We are all very proud
of her accomplishments.

Thu, October 6, 2016 @ 10:04 PM

4. Donna Dufour Culotta wrote:
That's my Sista, taught her everything she knows.
But then she taught me a whole bunch more.
Will be standing by that tree in Baton Rouge.53yox

Thu, October 6, 2016 @ 10:13 PM

5. Helen Goble wrote:
Bernadette is my best friend ! We met while she and her family lived , worked, and played in Huntington . We have exchanged a plaque several times between us saying,"endings must come before new beginnings." She has ended several things in her life including schooling/careers/and people! However she will never end that great drive she has for life and I would like to think her wonderful years associated with Scecina were a great part of her zest for pushing forward ! Love you my dear friend and run with the wind!!

Thu, October 6, 2016 @ 11:30 PM

6. Pat Paas wrote:
It was inspiring, Bernadette, to read of your and Jim's accomplishments. Congrats to both of you.

Fri, October 7, 2016 @ 12:52 AM

7. Jan Riley wrote:
You provided a sense of community for me when my kids were little--having your place to go was so good for the kids and I. You had a basket of toys and always engaged with the kids and made them feel special. Thank you for so many fond memories.

Fri, October 7, 2016 @ 7:33 AM

8. Mary Jo McAtee Steele '67 wrote:
Way to go Bernadette!! My college roommate, Pat Dickson Lathrop just happens to be your sister-in-law!! We had never met until that fall of '68 at IUPUI SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY. The world is really small, God works in mysterious ways, and SCECINA ALUMNI continue to SHINE!

Sat, October 8, 2016 @ 10:20 PM

9. Angela Dufour wrote:
You have much to be proud of Bernadette! Your determination is admirable especially while running your half marathons, you just keep going and going. Creating new memories, new milestones, living life to its fullest, I am glad you are my "sister" and I can brag to others about your accomplishments!
You go girl!!! Love and God's blessing.

Sun, October 9, 2016 @ 7:23 AM

10. Barbara Kemp wrote:
As another class of '64 alum, I read your post with interest. Scecina helped to instill a strong sense of values. Your perseverance is fabulous. It is encouraging to see your goals which totally disregard age. Bravo! Maybe my mantra "what will I be when I grow up" will continue to serve me.

Mon, October 10, 2016 @ 10:08 AM

11. Bernadette Lathrop wrote:
Thank you, all, so much! I am humbled by it all!
To Jan Riley: Have thought of your often. Once retired, I did read the book on Gettysburg and revisited it! THANK YOU....for the wonderful support thru the restaurant!

Tue, October 11, 2016 @ 7:35 AM

12. Ann Kelly wrote:
Glad you shared on facbook as I would not have seen this. So glad you were contacted to share your adventure. There is a lot to learn from your attitude in life!

Tue, October 11, 2016 @ 9:26 AM

13. Donna Weigle wrote:
From the 1st day I met you I have been in awe of your talent, your go get it done and your smiling wonderful personality

Tue, October 11, 2016 @ 11:57 PM

14. Jim Unsworth wrote:
Great story. Glad for the update.
Take care,

Jim Unsworth

Fri, October 14, 2016 @ 11:31 AM

15. wrote:
At this time it appears like Drupal is the best blogging platform available right now.
(from what I've read) Is that what you're using
on your blog?

Sat, April 6, 2019 @ 8:04 AM

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