William Neil Bernard

William (“Bill”) was born on November 18, 1928 in Hastings MN, but grew up in Munising, Michigan. He passed away peacefully at home on August 1st , deciding it was time to rejoin his wife Katie who had proceeded him in death.Bill completed 2 years at Northern Michigan College of Education in 1948 which qualified him for a new Navy Aviation Cadet program. That took him to Pensacola, FL where he met his first love – air flight. Bill served as a pilot for 5 years, and fifteen additional years in the Reserves; Lt Colonel, retired. Bill enjoyed the camaraderie and maintained friendships he developed while serving in the Navy throughout his lifetime. After his service Bill attended the University of Minnesota graduating with a degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1954. Shortly after graduation he met his true love, Catherine ‘Katie’ Bernard, on a blind date. Bill and Katie married August 20th, 1955. They settled into their marriage, with Katie working as a nurse and Bill as a field service engineer for Honeywell. Between 1956 and 1962, Katie gave birth to their three children, Tim, Kathleen and Mary. Honeywell took Bill and Katie to live in several U.S. cities, and then for two years in Japan, which fueled a wanderlust leading to many travel adventures to far flung countries across the globe. They returned to St Paul, MN in 1960; in 1964, after Bill finished law school, they moved to Willmar, MN to raise their family. Bill was eternally hard working, yet still took time to mentor and support his friends, colleagues and extended family. All remember his hearty laugh, genuine smile, and at times, rough rebuke – but, only to build character. Bill loved to travel, golf and snow ski. He sponsored many trips for family and friends and we are grateful for our time with him on those adventures – Montana, Colorado, Hawaii, California, Disney World (opening year), Ireland, Scotland, Machu Pichu, Mongolia and on and on… He is survived by his children Tim, Kathleen (Tom Lynch) and Mary, his granddaughter Shannon McClure (Colin), and great grandson Logan. A celebration service will be held Friday October 9th at St Bartholomew’s church in Wayzata MN, 11:00 AM with lunch to follow (details provided at church). No flowers or gifts, please.


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