MaKayla “Boo” Lenee Bernald
Jan. 31, 2002 – Feb. 24, 2023

MaKayla “Boo” Lenee Bernald was our surprise baby who entered the world on January 31, 2002. From the moment she entered, until the day she left, she was a positive light to so many. Starting at an early age, Boo showed empathy for others. Always the first to hug, with a perpetual smile on her face, and the ability to express concern for others was a true gift she gave us all and likely the things we will miss the most.

Along with her soft side, MaKayla had a competitive drive unmatched by many. The competitive side started with the idolization of her big brother, Logan, who played youth football. With MaKayla’s need to “keep up” with Logan, six years older than she, MaKayla decided to play youth football just like he did. MaKayla played three years with the Eureka Loggers Green team in the Eureka Junior Football League, and definitely “didn’t hit like a girl!” In fact, she became one of the best hitters out there! The grit and determination she showcased along with the work that Logan put into his sister every day teaching her how to hit correctly was a huge contributing factor in that!

After playing football, Boo decided to segway to softball. From that moment on, the game would be her passion! The competitive drive, her grit, her work ethic and so much more helped to propel her as a leading softball pitcher not only in Humboldt County, but also, in Mendocino as well. MaKayla’s softball career began in Eureka at Redwood Empire Little League for girls. Her passion for the sport led her to playing softball with the Mad River MIST travel team. She started as a 10-U and, aside from the COVID shutdown year, played until completion at the 18-U level. Because of the financial commitment Mad River MIST required for travel, Boo and her family agreed and committed to running the Arcata Sports Complex Snack Bar to help offset costs. During the ten or so years they did this, MaKayla built a strong support system in the Mad River Slow Pitch Adult League. She served hamburgers with a joke and smile one minute and played on the ball field with them the next! And…if she wasn’t in the snack bar, or on the field, she was on the pitching mound perfecting her craft with her mom on the bucket.

Boo excelled at pitching because she worked so hard! Boo worked so hard because she had to. And because of all of her hard work, she had numerous achievements. A pinnacle moment for Boo and her Mad River MIST team was when she pitched in one of the most elite softball tournaments the program attended called “Battle of the Rings.” For this tournament, there were 10 players, 10 games, and they played in 109 degree heat. Some of the teams she pitched against in the five games they played back to back on Sunday were some of the best teams in the state of California. After an incredible battle, they finished just short in 3rd place.

Boo had a couple of highlights while playing for the Arcata High Tigers as well. The first that comes to mind is the 29 strikeouts she recorded versus Fortuna High School in a doubleheader in 2018, who was ironically coached by her MIST travel coach, and who she considered her second dad, Eric Helms. And the second was when she played against Fortuna again, and Hailey Dolcini was pitching. Arcata lost, but with Boo pitching, she held her own and kept Arcata in the ball game, preventing a 10-run rule loss by Dolcini and the FHS team, which was a Fortuna standard at the time! As her career progressed, Boo was recruited to play softball for Mendocino College, but COVID impacted her first year of playing there so she decided that she would attend College of the Redwoods and play there instead. The following year she was able to return to Mendocino and play, where she earned Bay Valley Pitcher of the Year.

As Boo got older her love for cars began to more thoroughly showcase itself. At the age of 4, she could be found trying to pull fenders off of spare cars for the races because she wanted to get out and race just like her parents. Her family’s love for cars led her to work at John’s Used Cars and then to Lithia Motors. While she was there, she met her soulmate and love of her life – Nick. It didn’t matter what they were doing, as long as they were together.

Makayla is survived by her parent, Stacy Minnick and Glenn Bernald, sister- Mariah Smith (Skyler) brother- Logan Minnick (Kayla), nephews- Damien, Aiden & Sawyer Lee, her soul mate – Nick Pezzoli and the children of her heart Anna & Jax Pezzoli, grandmother – Carol Ramsier, aunts – Terry Kester, Letty Frakes, Elena Shannon, uncles – David Ramsier, Todd Buller, Doug Ford, and numerous cousins. Boo is also survived by her second family, Eric and Kelly Helms (Faith Olivia, Autumn Lexi, and Maya Rose) and the entire Softball Community.

She is preceded in death by her grandfathers Neil Buller, Gary Ramsier and Val Bernald; grandmother Mary Bernald; and aunt and Susan Holbrooks.

There will be a celebration of Boo’s life on Sunday, March 26, at 11 a.m. at 1645 Elbutmo Ranch Rd McKinleyville.

If you wish to help the family with any expense there is a GoFundMe set up:


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of MaKayla Bernard’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email