John R. Bernard, 98, of Vermillion, SD passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family at the Sanford Vermillion Care Center on Thursday, September 14, 2023. Funeral Mass will be held at St. Agnes Catholic Church on Saturday, September 23, 2023 beginning at 10:00AM. Visitation will be held one hour prior.
John was born on June 1, 1925, in Sioux City, Iowa to Napoleon and Marie (Connors) Bernard. John was one of ten children. The family grew up in Jefferson, SD. He graduated from Jefferson High School in 1943 as valedictorian of his class. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and was honorably discharged in 1945.
John married Barb (Lyle) on February 14, 1950, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Garryowen, SD. They made their home near Spink, SD raising 5 children. He had a very long and wonderful life with Barb by his side all the time until Barb passed away on November 12, 2021. His heart was broken the day she passed away.
John farmed, raised livestock and was a self-taught electrician, getting his State Electrician’s license. He began working at Clay Union Electric in 1971 and in 1985 began working at Lincoln Union in Alcester, SD, retiring in 1990.
One of John’s dreams was building his own home. He and Barb built a home, sold the home place, and moved into their new home in Vermillion in 2010.
In his spare time, he enjoyed fishing, playing cards at Spink Cafe and the Main Street Center and spoiling his grandchildren. As his children would tell you, his grandchildren were able to get by with way more than they did but his children enjoyed watching him do that. After moving into Vermillion Sanford Care Center, he met many friends and rarely missed playing Bingo with the residents at the Care Center and Gardens. He gave some of the staff a run for their money, but he appreciated all that they did to help him and Barb during their short time in their care.
Over the years, John served on many boards/committees it’s hard to recall all of them. A few of them were Clay Rural Water, numerous Garryowen School and Church, St. Agnes Church, and Knights of Columbus. He was never afraid to help out and join a board or committee when called upon.
He is survived by his 5 children: Shelly Bendert of Vermillion, Mariann Bernard (Bob Dixon) of Highlands Ranch, CO, Carol Vander Pol (Jon) of Platte, SD, Cindy Knudsen (Mark) of Vermillion and Lyle (Lynn) of Merrill, IA, seven grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Patricia Olson of Vermillion, brothers Tim (Bonnie) of Hot Springs, SD, Tom (Barb) of Chadron, NE and by numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his wife Barb, father Napoleon, mother Marie, brothers Bob, Jerry, Bill, Larry, sisters Jeanne Marie and Mary Lou and sons-in-law Daryl Kuper and Mike Mikuska.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Sanford Vermillion Care Center and the AseraCare Hospice team for all the loving care received.