Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dad

Young Dad
For the few regular readers I have, you're family and already know Dad died twelve days ago. For anyone else who wanders onto my blog, that's the reason for the silence the last few weeks.  I'll return to regular posts in March.

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. 
The highest ranking Corpsman in 1st Marine Division,
he was called "Doc" in 'Nam.
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.
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… 

3 comments:

  1. Different man at different stages of his life. The Navy guy that raised four sons (at least until after the divorce, then I raised myself)was gone when I returned from the Military. But, from what I saw I think he was quite happy with the second (or possibly third)chapter of his life. It was his to live, not mine to approve of. Pretty good dude and most definitely a man of his era, especially when we were little. Nice job big Brother. By the way, I hate the robot verification crap, little bitty letters all written funny, running together like a West Virginia sentence and not even making up real words, ick.

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  2. I agree with you completely. Dad was happy in the Navy; he loved that life. He was also happy with Marcia and that chapter of his life (nicely put).
    I didn't realize I could turn OFF that robot crap! Taken care of, brother. Thanks for getting me to check it!

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  3. Hey bro, great read on dad. You really got it right! A man that lived 2 lives. Marcia's family never saw the man we grew up with and I repeat - the man. I think you should continue to write stories about mom and pops in your blog, they make me happy and I feel like it bring us guys closer as a family to read it. Thanks to my out of town bros Vince and Dave for the great visit and support through a difficult time and special Sierra hotel to little (choke you out) bro for helping me through the last few weeks with dad. Love you guys - crap, that's kind of wimpy. Thanks for kicking tail during dads check out(swilling a beer). B

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