Bernard Berner

Dr. Bernard Berner, 94, died May 12, 2012 at Castle Point Veterans

Bernard Berner graduated high school at 14, the youngest that year
in 1932, in New York City. He entered the Navy in July 1940 as an
Apprentice Seaman. By the end of WWII, he had attained the rank of
Lieutenant Commander. He had served as a line officer on a battleship
and a heavy cruiser, The USS Tuscaloosa, which took part in the biggest
convoy battle of the war in the Arctic Ocean, PQ17. He was then given
command of The USS LST 317. He led this ship along campaigns in North
Africa and into the invasion of Sicily. Bernard received many medals
while in the service and has also had his war memoirs recently accepted
by the Library of Congress.

Thanks to the GI Bill, Bernard got his Master’s degree at Columbia
University and Doctorate in Counseling Psychology at New York University.
Dr. Berner worked for the Veteran’s Administration for 31 years. This
included 22 years at the Yale University’s Medical School, and
professional assignments at Southern Connecticut State College and the
University of New Haven. President John F. Kennedy awarded him a citation
for his work with the underprivileged and the handicapped. Bernard was
also named Man of the Year for this work in New Haven, CT.

Bernard earned an Exempt Certificate for years as a Voluntary Fireman
and was a Past President of the Chelsea Fire Company. He also served
as Past President of the then Chelsea/Brockway School Board. Dr. Berner
also did volunteer work for the VFW and DAV for many years. During his
stay at the VA Castle Point Nursing Home, Bernard served on different
committees there until very recently.

Dr. Berner is survived by his beloved and devoted wife of 70 years,
Isabelle. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters,
Patricia Barth of Shokan, NY, and Anita and her husband Nicholas
Donofrio of Ridgefield, CT, a son Joseph and his wife Karen Berner of
Potsdam, NY, six grandchildren, Terry Hockler, Nicholas Hockler,
Michael Donofrio, Nicole Donofrio, Valerie Berner, Jason Berner, and
five great-grandchildren, Lauren Hockler, Kristyn Hockler, Nicholas
Hockler, Edie Donofrio, and Lena Donofrio.

‘Bernie’ was a rare, wonderful man who loved his family and friends with
a pure, unconditional love. Everyone who knew him loved him in return.

Dr. Berner will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. There will
be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to
‘Doctors Without Borders’ online at
or by sending directly to: Doctors Without Borders USA, 333 Seventh
Avenue, 2nd floor , New York, NY 10001, Attn: Planned Giving

Please visit Dr. Berner’s web site at

To leave a condolence online or for directions please visit

Arrangements are under the direction of Libby Funeral Home, Inc. 55 Teller Ave. Beacon, NY 12508 845-831-0179

Date Of Service
No Calling Hours

Location Of Service
Dr. Berner will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery

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  1. anita donofrio says:

    I’ll never again know a love so pure as your’s. I love you so much, my dear daddy and I’ll miss you forever. Your loving daughter,Anita.

  2. Joe Berner says:

    It didn’t matter to my dad who you were, what you did, where you came from, or what you had. He treated everyone with the same amount of respect and courtesy, no matter what. He was a hard worker, a real leader, and he loved making people laugh. Love ya, Dad!

  3. Donna Burleigh says:

    My deepest sympathy to all of you.

  4. Kristine Gocmen says:

    Mrs. B, I only knew Bernie for a short time i was new to castle pt. Only starting a couple months ago. But i can’t express how much i grew to love Bernie, in the short time i knew him. He was such a wonderful man. And loved you so much. Not many people get to love someone the way you two loved each other. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Rick and Joann Scott Papesca says:

    Dear Mama B

    What wonderful memories I have of u and Mr. B. from Chelsea. He was always smiling aand spoke very softly He always had time for the kids in town.
    I remember him telling Rick he pcked the right branch of service to go into, NAVY,he too started at the bottom and worked his way up to Capt. Mr B always inspired him. U both were and still are a wonderful couple. He will be watching over his loved family always.

  6. Julie (Rebaschio) Zipkin says:

    My sincere condolences to Aunt Isabelle and the extended family of Uncle Bernie. I know how close my parents were to you both. I only hope that Uncle Bernie is once again enjoying their company in heaven.

  7. Nicole Donofrio says:

    I have nothing but wonderful memories of my grandpa- he is one of the kindest people I have ever known, and I can only hope to even be a little bit like him, and I’ll be satisfied. He was an inspiration to me for getting my doctorate, and will continue to inspire. His compassion included all living creatures– he was most beloved not only by people but by all the neighborhood dogs! I think we will meet again, Grandpa, by and by.

  8. Pat Barth says:

    As Anita says, I loved my Dad for his warm gentle ways, fantastic sense of humor, humility, worldly knowledge, and goodness to all of his loved ones. He had a good life. I’ll miss him forever too.

  9. Paula Todd Gay says:

    I have fond memories of the Berner family while I was growing up in Chelsea. Dr. & Mrs. Berner were always kind and welcoming. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing.
    Paula & John Gay

  10. David and Mary Fortin says:

    Please know that we have wonderful memories of Dr. and Mrs. Berner…they opened their hearts and home to Mary when she and Anita were in nursing school. Our memories of all of you are dear to us. He was a special and wonderful person to so many people.

    With thoughts and prayers,

    David and Mary

  11. Gloria and Larry Hultz says:

    Bernie, We will miss you, but we know you are now at peace. Please watch over us and help guide us in the right directions. You always made us feel better about ourselves in knowing you. Gloria & Larry

  12. Virginia Morgese says:

    My Dear Isabelle: I’m sorry to hear of Bernard’s passing. He was was a kind and gentle man. It was a priviledge to know him even though it was for a short while. Peace be with you.

  13. Susan Wiand says:

    To Isabelle and family,
    My deepest sympathy to all of you. His loving smile will always remain in my heart.

    Susan Wiand

  14. Nick Donofrio says:

    Kind, gentle, thoughtful, brilliant, witty, caring, committed, passionate, unselfish and loving are the words that come to mind when I think of your husband, Mom, and your father, Anita, Pat and Joe. After 50 years, I considered him a friend, colleague, mentor and father. I too will greatly miss him. My sincere and heartfelt sympathy to you all. Rest assured that he will always be there watching over each of you.

  15. Mike Donofrio says:

    Grandpa was and remains a role model–he showed everyone fortunate enough to know him what it means to love, to respect, and to accept others. To the extent we’re able to do the same, he lives on in all of us, and I can’t think of a better way for us all to honor his memory. I loved the man wholeheartedly and always will. Mike

  16. Chrissy ( née Rebaschio) Badikian/ Dr Arthur Badikian says:

    Dearest Aunt Belle and all our cousins who we love:
    Our heartfelt sympathy and love are with you during this time of loss, sorrow and grief. My parents, Theresa and Joe loved you so and shared special history with you both that will always be remembered by me. May your memories and love give you strength and carry you forward in the days ahead.
    Much love always,
    Cousins Chrissy and Arthur

  17. christina hrynyk says:

    I was Mr. Berner’s dietitian during his stay at Castle Point…..He was a delight….I always enjoyed seeing him surrounded by his loved ones who visited often…those were times when he was his happiest…Mr Berner was a wonderful man with a loving family…a power of example.

  18. Loretta Agosta says:

    It was a honor to have known Dr. Berner and his wife. Dr. Berner was a gentleman with a grest sense of humor. God bless Mr. Berner and his family.

  19. Kelly McCracken says:

    Poppy was among the kindest humans I have ever known. He was also very funny and bright and curious. I was always happy to be with him. He is one of those few special people who I feel fortunate to have known. I will always remember him with love and miss him.

  20. Judy Cook says:

    He was my dear sweet Uncle Bernie who set an example for how to live an honorable and loving life. I didn’t know about many of his incredible accomplishments until these last few years but did get to enjoy his loving warmth and wonderful humor early on. It’s clear to me now that his humor came from his very sharp and lively mind. I’ll always remember when he and my Dad, his older brother, would egg each other on to get everyone laughing at family get togethers with their harmless practical jokes. My dearest memories will always be of his sweet smile, quick wit, and soft laugh. I will miss you and will always love you Uncle Bernie.

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