Jerald "Jerry" Eugene Bernhardt
September 11, 1936 – February 18, 2021
Jerry entered eternal rest on February 18, 2021. His soul is at Peace in Heaven. “Blessed are they, for they rest from their labors.” (Revelation 14:13) He is among the saints who are praising the Lamb unceasingly. However, the final victory is not yet his. His soul awaits that glorious day when Christ will return reuniting all believers, living and dead, body and soul, gathering them together for eternity with Him in Heaven.
Jerry was the first born of Alex and Bertha Bernhardt. He was the grandson of German-Lutheran immigrants. On September 11, 1936, Jerry was born in Ramona, a small town in central Kansas. He became a child of God through the waters of Holy Baptism on October 11, 1936 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church near Ramona, Kansas. Jerry’s dad, Alex, was a farmer. However the Great Depression and drought of the 1930’s changed that. Jerry and his parents moved to Hillsboro, Kansas where his dad got a job in a creamery and egg processing plant where he eventually became a foreman. His dad was part of the Greatest Generation and the eggs they were processing went to the United States military during World War II. The plant employed German prisoners of war (POW) from the camo that was nearby in Peabody, Kansas. At first there was much hostility, but as time passed the POW’s trusted Jerry’s dad, as he spoke fluent German and could communicate with them in a positive way. His dad arranged for Lutheran church services to be held at the POW camp. Occasionally, Jerry went with his dad and the pastor to the services and was able to give an amazing example of how to love your enemies.
In 1939 Jerry’s sister, Joan was born followed by his brother, Dale in 1944. Jerry was confirmed in the Christian faith at Zion Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, Kansas on April 2, 1950. The sainted Reverend K.E. Juengel was his faithful teacher. Most of Jerry’s early school years were spent in Hillsboro, Kansas with the exception of a partial year on 8th grade where he attended a small country school near Elmdale, Kansas. Jerry and his family moved to Elmdale, Kansas where his dad ran a dairy farm. Consequent moves took the family to Overbrook, Kansas.
All was well until the Korean War changed things. Their home, which they were renting, was sold and they had nowhere to live. The personnel from a large Air Force base in Topeka, Kansas took up all the housing. Jerry’s parents made the decision to see most of their belongings and move to Washington State, specifically the Mt. Vernon area, where Jerry’s maternal relatives had settled upon their move from Kansas years before. The family eventually settled in Everett, Washington, where Jerry’s dad found work. Church life was very important to Jerry and his family. The Bernhardt family found a new church home at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Everett in 1951. Jerry and his family where charter members of Immanuel’s daughter congregation, Messiah Lutheran Church in Marysville, Washington which began in 1957 where he served nearly 20 years as Sunday School Superintendent. Jerry and his family returned to Immanuel in 1980 and have been there ever since. Jerry’s dad entered eternal rest on October 8, 1971, followed by his mother on May 10, 1993, and his sister, Joan, on July 7, 2019. Jerry’s brother, Dale, lives in Marysville, Washington. Jerry graduated from Everett High School in 1954. He served in the United States Army/Washington National Guard beginning in 1959 and was honorably discharged in 1965. Jerry married Beverly “Bev” Starck on June 26, 1965 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Everett. Jerry and Bev had two daughters, Greta and Tawnya, and two granddaughters, Emily and Ella, of whom he was extremely proud.
Jerry spent 11 years in casket manufacturing. He was also a district representative for Aid Association for Lutherans for several years. He began his telephony career in 1972. He held various positions with GTE and Contel. Through his engineering work with Contel, Jerry traveled to various locations in Alaska. He retired in 1993. Jerry was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church where he served the Lord on various congregational committees and as church treasurer.
In 2017, after living in Marysville, Washington for over 50 years, Jerry and Bev moved to Warm Beach Senior Community in Stanwood, Washington.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 56 years, Bev; two daughters, Greta Bernhardt of Long Beach, Washington and Tawnya (Greg) Smith of Marysville, Washington; two granddaughters, Emily and Ella Smith; his brother, Dale (Janet) Bernhardt of Marysville, Washington as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends in Washington, Nebraska, and Kansas. He also leaves his sweet dog, Pelly.
Jerry’s life is a clear testimony to our merciful and caring God. At the age of 42, he had an acute heart attack and was told by his doctor he would not survive. Thanks be to God there was a new experimental procedure. By God’s grace, Jerry lived until the age of 84.
A memorial service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 2521 Lombard St., Everett, Washington at a later date. Interment will be at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Everett, Washington. Memorials may be sent to Immanuel Lutheran Church or to a charity of your choice