Wallace E. Bernhardt was born on September 4, 1935 in Canton, OH, the son of Victor A. and Josephine Bernhard. (That's not a typo - his mother changed his name.) He was baptized at St. Peter's in Canton on September 20, 1935. He and his mother moved to Detroit when he was young. He loved sailing and was a member of the Sea Scouts in his teens. After graduating from St. Joseph's High School in Detroit, Dad joined the US Navy as a medical Corpsman and was sent to Norfolk, Virginia where he met Frances Stone (also in the Navy). Dad and Mom married in March of 1957 and had four sons: Vince, Barry, David and Tim.
Dad's Naval career included a tour in Viet Nam in 1968-69 and a letter of commendation for his work in the field hospital during the Tet Offensive. Dad was dismayed the Detroit Tigers won the Series while he was in Viet Nam. During his tour in-country he received his promotion to Chief Petty Officer.
He retired from the Navy in 1972 and moved
the family to Rockford, Michigan. He eventually started his own company, WEB Pest Control. I still have one of the ball caps he made for the company. He married Marcia in 1986 and became a father
to her two children, Ryan and Jody.
|The highest ranking Corpsman in 1st Marine Division,|
he was called "Doc" in 'Nam.
Dad was an avid sports fan and enjoyed softball and bowling in many different leagues over the years. He also went hunting during most years, but I honestly never remember him getting a single deer.
Dad happily supported the youth in his church and was famous for the Papa Wally spaghetti dinners he served for their fund raisers. (This was something he did in his later years; I don't recall Dad cooking at all when we were younger. I never had his spaghetti.)
Dad was on a first name basis with everyone in the world, even if they didn't know it yet.
Dad died on February 8, 2013, after a lengthy illness with a recurring bout of cancer. He will be missed by many.
Fair winds and following seas…