Bruce Sheldon Bernstein
May 19, 1931 – November 29, 2020
Bruce Bernstein, 89, a long-time resident of Rockville, MD, passed away at White Oak Adventist Hospital in Silver Spring, MD on Sunday, November 29. Bruce is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Valerie (nee Gordon), his sons, Neil Bernstein of Rockville and Mark Bernstein (Carolyn Weiss) of Bethesda, and his cherished granddaughter Lila. Of special relationship is Bruce's cousin, Carol Abrams (Hal) of Del Ray Beach, FL. who held a long and special place in his life, his mid-life reconnection with his cousin Juliet of Sydney, Australia ....and decades of love and bonding with his sister-in-law Rona (Gene) and his brother-in-law Noel (Toby).
Bruce was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was educated at City University of New York and Iowa State University, where he obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in organic chemistry in 1953 and 1955, respectively. After working in the NY/NJ metropolitan area, Bruce joined the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Washington, DC in 1977, serving in both Staff and Management positions, culminating as Target Leader of the Underground Distribution Program prior to his retirement in 2001. Post-retirement, he established his own consulting practice and continued to serve the industry as an expert in the field of electrical insulation until his final year of life.
He was honored to become an IEEE Fellow, and a member of the IEEE Dielectric and Electrical Insulation Society, the Power Engineering Society, the IEEE Insulated Conductors Committee, and the American Chemical Society. He also served as the U.S. representative to the CIGRE Study Committee for "Materials for Electrotechnology." One of Bruce's most-loved endeavors was teaching, as a Faculty member of the University of Wisconsin's Power Cable Engineering course. In addition, he authored a multitude of publications, patents and book chapters.
Bruce was a voracious reader -- with a particular interest in world history and science - there was always a book in his hand. . He could never be bored; there was too much to read and learn about. So many words describe him - but the word that stands out is Inquisitive - about everything. He was an avid reader of Free Inquiry and a believer in Secular Humanism. A t-shirt his wife bought him that read "So Many Books - So Little Time" was so perfect for him. An avid fan of Star Trek, he, himself authored several several short science fiction stories. A spectator of sports, his first love was the good old Brooklyn Dodgers, followed by the New York Mets....and, here in our area, spent many a time viewing the team games of DC and Univ. of MD.
But highest on his list, Bruce was a man who was intense about making the best contribution he could in his field of work ....He valued logic and reason in all aspects of his life....He was basically a quiet man, but caring and warm....His family was most important to him....they were his foundation....his wife, his sons....his fondness for his daughter-in-law Carolyn ... and his utter joy as a grandfather of Lila.
He cared about the world and the small contribution he could make to it in his lifetime through his work. Most importantly, he was a loved and loving man.
If you care to make a donation in Bruce's memory, his favored organizations are: The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research, Disabled American Veterans, Sierra Club, and St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital.
Bruce Sheldon Bernstein
John T. Smith III
December 16, 2020
I was so saddened and shocked to hear of Bruce’s passing yesterday. My greatest and deepest sympathies and condolences to you and the extended Bernstein Family.
I met Bruce in 1981 while working for Alcoa Laboratories in Marshall, Texas, and Bruce was working for EPRI out of DC. Bill Shula was his Manager, and Joe Dudas was mine. Bruce and Joe were supportive of me throughout my entire career in the Wire and Cable industry. Bruce was the person who encouraged me to get into the dirty details of statistical data analysis while working on a very important EPRI project, the infamous 2713-02. I soon met you at an ICC meeting at the Don Cesar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Fl, where you also met my wife, Robbie. Bruce has been a tremendous help to me, encouraging and supporting me in my entry into the Wire & Cable industry back in the early 1980’s. Like Bruce, I am a Chemist, so we had lots of things to talk about and discuss on the technical side. Bruce also introduced me to the teaching facet of Wire & Cable by having me fill-in for him back in 2012. We continued to teach the Charlotte, NC course together until his retirement. We also had lots of talks about our grandchildren; his and your Lila, and Robbie and my Kennedy and Fallon, at ICC Meetings, the Charlotte course and other opportunities. He was so proud of Lila.
I spoke with Bruce in September, and we commiserated about some of our health issues. I told him then how much he meant to me and my career, both professionally and personally, and that I considered him a lifetime friend. He was one of the “Giants” of the Wire & Cable industry, and his insightful technical expertise and technical integrity will be missed. He will also be remembered and missed for his gentle, even keel in dealing with the many “bigger-than-life” personalities of our profession.
My prayers are with and for you, your sons, and Lila. God Bless you and Be encouraged.
John T. & Robbie S. Smith, III
3825 Holly Ridge
Longview, Texas 75605
December 16, 2020
I am so sorry to hear this news.
Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss.
Bruce was a great guy and friend that I will miss.
I am well aware of the sorrow and emptiness you now feel, having gone through this in 2001 when I lost my beloved wife Janet.
The days ahead will be rough but from my own personal experience I can assure you it will get better for you as time passes.
December 15, 2020
I was saddened to learn of Bruce’s passing. Bruce was a kind, caring person with whom I greatly enjoyed working. My association with him began in 1999 at the University of Wisconsin where he generously gave of his time to teach courses on emerging power cable technology. Small in stature but huge in heart, he was a very warm and approachable man, with a fine sense of humor to season his powerful intellect. Bruce had a talent for getting at the nub of an issue and concisely clarifying it so that all the parties could more easily come to agreement. My university colleagues and I were fortunate to work with a man who shared his gifts so freely to the betterment of our shared endeavors. We will all miss him.
December 14, 2020
I worked with Bruce in 1970 at Phelps Dodge Cable & Wire in Yonkers NY and later when Bruce joined EPRI. We also worked on IEEE ICC Committees together. Bruce was always willing to share his vast knowledge with others. When Bruce started his consulting company, we partnered on several failure analysis projects. He was a great colleague and friend. He will be missed.
Noel and Toby Gordon
December 13, 2020
Val, Neil, and Mark,
Bruce was more than a brother-in-law. He was a friend, and an advisor for almost 60 years. He was kind and fun-loving. We remember the fun times of double dating when we were all first married. Noel especially remembers when Val, Bruce and he went to Boston so many years ago. Fun times. He will be sorely missed.
December 13, 2020
Dearest Valerie and family,
What a giant of a man Bruce was within the electric power research industry and beyond. It was my privilege and pleasure to work with him for many years in the underground transmission line systems and installation programs. We offered many seminars and workshops together and, thankfully enjoyed the meaningful results of everyone of them. We will miss his generous heart and gifts he shared with us all.
With love and sincere thanks, Kathleen Doré
December 12, 2020
I feel so honored to have met Bruce and Val and I will miss Bruce's wisdom and gentility very much.
Geri & Peter Paul
December 12, 2020
Dear Val, Neil, Mark, Carolyn and Lila,
Bruce was a very special friend. His warm and giving spirit will live on in our hearts.
May the strength of his love for you help you deal with the pain of his death. Just like a tree in autumn, the leaves may fall off, but the foundation still remains.
Geri and Peter Paul
December 11, 2020
To Valerie, Neil, Mark, and the rest of the Berstein family.
We are so sorry for the loss of Bruce. We have crossed paths many times from when I was a young boy around the age of 12 to a middle-aged adult. He was very kind to my family. There were events my father took me to and Bruce was there. He was always kind, thoughtful, and had a very good sense of humor. I know he was a good friend to my father and his kindness to my family will not be forgotten. My father admired how smart he was throughout the years.
Scott and Lora Jurgrau
December 10, 2020
We were fortunate to be near neighbors with Bruce and Valerie for many years. Our son mowed their lawn when he was 12. During recent years, prior to their move, we enjoyed going out to dinner with Bruce and Valerie. I will always think of Bruce as a gentle, quiet man, with a subtle sense of humor. We enjoyed our conversations with him. He was always concise and insightful. I also appreciated hearing about his writing and hope someday to have the opportunity to read his science fiction. He will certainly be missed.
December 9, 2020
Throughout the years, when asked for advice, Bruce always gave good advice on anything. Always honest, knowledgeable, kind and sincere. He was the best brother-in-law a girl could ask for. In six months time, this hat is one he would have worn on his 90th birthday. He was truly loved and will be dearly missed. RIP Bruce.
To Val, Neil, Mark, Carolyn and Lila:
I know you're all struggling right now after the funeral. So much to get used to, in such a short time. May the good memories of Bruce ease your grief, sustain you, and even bring a smile to your faces eventually. My prayers go out to all of you.
Love, Rona Cataldo (Val's sister)
December 9, 2020
On May 12, 2018, I Was Blessed To Be Able To Have My Dad Return With Me To Philadelphia For My 30th College Reunion.
We Posed For This Photo In Front Of My Freshman Year Dorm Room At Penn - Where I Had Lived A Full Third Of A Century Prior.
Dad, Thank You So Very Much For That Singular Wonderful Day We Spent As Father And Son.
Dad, Thank You So Very Much For Being My Father For 54 Years.
Dad, I Miss You Already.
Dad, I Love You So Very Much.
Your Son Forever,
December 9, 2020
Valerie, Neil, Mark, Carolyn, and Lila -
I will remember Bruce as a good and kind man - one who was knowledgeable about seemingly everything. Smart, inquisitive (like you said) and generous. It was a pleasure knowing him through Mark - both growing up as a teenager and in my adult years. I will miss him.
I know his memory will be a blessing.
All my love,
December 8, 2020
Bruce was a great colleague for nearly 50 years. We met at IEEE and other conferences and became good friends. He was always interested and interesting. I appreciated his knowledge and sense of humor. We enjoyed many social occasions together with Valerie and Liz.
He will be missed. Alan Cookson.
Jeffrey and Jennifer Jurgrau
December 1, 2020
Dear Valerie & Family,
We are so very sorry for your loss. We know how difficult this time is. We hope you can take comfort in your memories and love of Bruce.
Jeff, Jennifer & Chris Jurgrau