Robert "Budd" Bernhardt

December 9, 1924February 14, 2019

Commander USN, Retired, Robert Budd Bernhardt passed away on February 14, 2019 at age 94.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 9, 1924, Budd was one of the last of the “Greatest Generation”, enduring the Great Depression and enlisting in the U.S. Army right after graduating from Collinwood High School to serve during World War II. After his deployment with the 462nd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion to the South Pacific he attended Fenn College (now Cleveland State University) to study electrical engineering and was awarded a direct commission into the U.S. Navy as an Ensign where he began flight training.

During his Navy career, Budd served tours aboard aircraft carriers, flying combat missions during the Korean War and the Vietnam War, in fighter type, heavy attack, and electronic reconnaissance aircraft. He instructed student aviators in advanced fighter type aircraft and he completed graduate work at the Naval War College, General Line School, and the Naval Intelligence School.

Budd’s shore assignments included tours of duty with Chief of Naval Operations; Fleet Intelligence Center, Europe; Naval Station, Kodiak, Alaska; Commanding Officer, Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, Barrow, Alaska, and the Alaska Command in Anchorage, Alaska. He retired from the Navy on April 1, 1975 having served 28 years and with more than a dozen military decorations, medals, badges, commendations, citations, and campaign ribbons.

Budd was never one to sit still for long. After his retirement in Anchorage, Alaska, he became a general contractor in residential construction. From there, he went on to utilize yet another set of natural talents, first as manager of a major oil spill response consortium, then as a U.S. Civil Service project manager.

In civilian life, Budd fed his ongoing passion for aviation by flying his own plane all over Alaska. He took great pleasure in sharing with family and friends the thrills of aviation and life in the state he had come to call home. At age 85, after almost seven decades of flight, Budd hung up his wings.

Budd had a “Renaissance man” background that gave him the ability to design, build, and fix seemingly anything—including two of his own homes. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and loved boating, particularly when captaining the Happinest, the 35 foot cabin cruiser he owned when stationed in Florida in the late 1960s.

Budd was married to Linda Bernhardt (nee Wiggins), his co-pilot, polka partner, bowling buddy, house building sidekick, and beloved traveling companion, for 51 years. They lived in several states including Florida, Alaska, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon. Alaska was Budd’s home for more than 40 years.

Budd was active with Anchorage Elks Lodge 1351 and the Navy League, Alaska Chapter, as well as a member of Fleet Reserve Association, American Legion, Tailhook Association, AOPA, Alaska Airmen Association, and life member of the VFW. In 2002 Budd was honored with the FAA’s highest accolade, the “Master Pilot Award,” presented in recognition of more than 50 years of accident-free flying.

Known for his riveting stories, quiet yet commanding demeanor, kind blue eyes, and life of integrity, Budd will be missed by the hundreds of lives he influenced and guided throughout his long life.

Budd was preceded in death by his father Robert George Bernhardt, his mother Rose Cora Elizabeth Bernhardt (nee Miller) and brother Glenn. He is survived by wife, Linda, and children John, Dirk, and Eric Bernhardt and Erika Bennett. He had 11 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, and 6 great great grandchildren. His ashes will be scattered over the Chugach Mountain Range in Alaska during the summer of 2019 after a military honors ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Robert "Budd" Bernhardt

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Cristina Crawford

February 22, 2019

Uncle Budd, I will surely miss your bear hugs and piercing blue eyes that sparkled with joy when telling of adventures near and far. You were truly a gentleman of The Greatest Generation and I will forever cherish times spent with you and your beautiful family. With love and gratitude, always and forever ~ Cristina