John W. Bernhard
A Mass of Christian Burial for John Bernhard was held on Friday, July 9, 2021 at the St. John’s Catholic Church in Bancroft. Father Matthew Solyntjes was the officiant. John was laid to rest at the St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Bancroft. Henry-Olson Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.
John William Bernhard was born to Philip and Patricia (Doocy) Bernhard on May 19, 1960, as the first of 7 children. He died on July 5, 2021, at his home in rural Fenton. He grew up on the family farm West of Bancroft and graduated from St. John’s Catholic High School in 1978. He spent his adolescent years and early 20’s fostering his love for agriculture. He worked alongside his father operating Bernhard Land & Livestock, farming land, raising cattle and farrow to finish hogs.
John married Paula Westerlund on November 25, 1989. He became the father he didn’t have to be to Cody and Austin. Dillon and Heath arrived in the coming years, completing one of his proudest titles – Dad. Being a father was one of John’s greatest joys. He spent his time leading the 4H Club – Fenton Progressors, attending the boys’ sporting events, cultivating cattle showman, and serving on the Sentral School Board.
Agriculture was John’s life’s work. A longtime farmer and seed dealer, over the years he represented McCurdy, Curry, NuTech, Producers, and, at present, Beck’s. He served as Vice President of the Kossuth County Cattleman’s and was a member of the Pork Producers for many years. John was the self-appointed supervisor and manager of the farming operation, always leading and offering advice, even when it wasn’t asked for. All would agree that he was a corn dryer aficionado.
John married Beth Westcott, on June 28, 2008. They spent the last 13 years living their lives to the fullest and loving each other every second along the way. They enjoyed outings on the side by side, pulling tabs, dressing up on Halloween, and talking to anyone that would listen. Always supporters of local communities, John and Beth opened JW’s Vault in Lone Rock on his birthday in 2018. They took numerous trips and lived so many experiences making memories along the way, even including Bret Michaels in their fun on occasion. John loved Beth with all his heart, and everyone that saw them together knew it.
John was larger than life and louder than most. If he was in the room, you knew it. You could always count on John for a laugh and good conversation. He was someone you could always depend on, and he would do anything to help the ones he cared about, whether they asked for it or not. John was a family man through and through, and of all the titles he held and all the names he was called, Grandpa was his favorite. Jettson and Riley were the undisputed lights of his life.
It goes without saying, that the world is a bit quieter, and JW will be deeply missed by many.
Left to cherish John’s memory is his wife of 13 years, Beth Bernhard, of Lone Rock; children, Cody Bernhard, of Bancroft; Dillon Bernhard, of Philadelphia, PA; Heath (Taylor) Bernhard, and their children, Riley and Jettson John, of Armstrong; siblings, Elaine Davis, of Bancroft; Jim (Cathy) Bernhard, of Lake Mills; Betsy (Steve) Rahe, of Lone Rock; Tim (Carole) Bernhard, of Bancroft; Kevin (Dawn) Bernhard, of Bancroft; Brian (Renee) Bernhard, of Thornton, CO; in-laws, Jerry and Pat Westcott, of Arnolds Park; Mark Westcott, of Albuquerque, NM; Lynn Westcott (Heidi Moyer), of Milford; godchildren, Melissa Davis, Danielle Bernhard, Matt Nemmers and Jordan Monson; many nieces and nephews and great nieces and a nephew; and countless friends that he considered family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Philip and Patricia Bernhard; his son, Austin Bernhard; his best friend, Dan Guerdet; his goddaughter, Ashley Boyle.