Obituary of Mary B. Bernhard | TheUnion.com
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Obituary of Mary B. Bernhard

Mary B. Bernhard

February 21, 1922 – April 25, 2020

Mary B. passed away in Grass Valley, California, with her son Edwin and dog Boomer at her side.  Her illness was brief and painless, and she stated simply that the cause of her demise was “living 98 wonderful years”!

Mary was born in Fresno, California to C.E. and Bessie Bernhauer.  She grew up with her beloved brothers C.E. Jr. and Deloss in their home on Huntington Blvd.  The family enjoyed their cabin at Meadow Lakes and summers in Carmel, as well as trips to Hawaii, Alaska/Canada and the N.Y. World’s Fair.  Mary was very close to her cousin Tobby, who often accompanied them on trips.  She had great fun at the Treasure Island Expo and enjoyed going to the S.F. Opera with her mother to see Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior and the other great stars of the 1930’s. 

After graduating from Roosevelt High and a semester at Castilleja School,  Mary matriculated at Stanford in 1940.  While at Stanford she met her husband of 70 years, Byrne.  Mary received her B.A. in 1944 and M.A. the following year, while Byrne served in the Army Air Corps.  They were married in Fresno in 1947, and after honeymooning in Coronado the couple relocated to Atherton, California, where they ultimately built the house they would live in for over 60 years.  They spent 1951 in Linz, Austria, where Byrne kept an aerial eye on the Red Army across the Danube.

Mary will be remembered above all as a devoted and loving Wife and Mother.  She also adored dogs throughout her life, beginning with her poodle Tiny, five Springer Spaniels, and finally the Corgis Johnny and Boomer.  Her home was her office, and she ran it with great care, pride, and attention to detail.  She especially enjoyed gardening and cooking, and was renowned for her camellias and meatloaf!  She remained close to her parents, brothers and the McCormick family in Fresno; as well as her in-laws Barbara and Bill Sanford and their children.

Mary and Byrne traveled almost annually to Yosemite, where she proved quite skilled at trout fishing (often to Byrne’s chagrin).  When Edwin was young they toured much of the United States, Canada and Western Europe.  In later life, Mary and Byrne enjoyed trips to Europe, Egypt, Japan, Alaska and South America, often on cruises with their college friends George and Marcia Good.  Mary remained close to her circle of childhood friends, the Phantasmagorians, and enjoyed traveling to their yearly reunions.

Mary finally retired from homemaking in 2015 and moved to Grass Valley.  Her later life was not without adventure, including a wildfire evacuation last October!  She was a devoted Chi Omega, and was thrilled to receive her 75-year pin last summer.  She always loved hearing from Eloise, her lifelong friend since childhood.

She will be interred with her husband, parents and brothers at Chapel of the Light in Fresno.  There will be no services.  Mary would love any memorials to Guide Dogs for the Blind or your local Humane Society.


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