George Lynn Bernhardt, Sr. ’49

George Lynn Bernhardt, Sr. ’49, of Lenoir, N.C., died Feb. 25. He was born Oct. 25, 1924, to the late Richmond Gilbert and Ruth White Bernhardt. After George graduated from Lenoir High School, where he played first chair cornet, he entered Davidson. His education there was interrupted by WWII, where he served for three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, surviving the battle of Iwo Jima and then being a part of the force that occupied Japan. His reconnaissance platoon was the first to set foot on the Japanese island of Kyushu. He had often described the eerie sensation of marching through the streets, being watched by silent, wary Japanese civilians. After his discharge from the Marine Corps, he returned to Davidson, and following his graduation, he went to Lenoir to work with his father in the family hardware store, Bernhardt-Seagle Company. George led a full life in service to his church and community. A longtime member of First Presbyterian Church of Lenoir, he was an elder and a deacon, active in fundraising campaigns and in the Men of the Church, and serving on Presbytery committees. For many years he sang in the church choir, sometimes as a soloist, beginning as a tenor and later changing to baritone. He served for a time as chairman of the Caldwell County Library Board, was president of the Chamber of Commerce, and was a charter member of the Caldwell County Men’s Chorus. Following his retirement from business, he was active in adult literacy programs and Communities in Schools. A member of the Lenoir City Council for 38 years (at times as mayor pro tem), his area of concentration was public utilities. He worked tirelessly for the water and sewer system of Caldwell County. The recently completed water treatment plant at Rhodhiss is named the George L. Bernhardt, Sr. Municipal Water Treatment Plant. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by one son, Thomas Maury Bernhardt ’74. Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Katherine Jones Bernhardt, 214 Bernhardt Court S.W., Lenoir, NC 28645-5701; two sons, George Lynn Bernhardt, Jr. (Johanna) and the Reverend Dr. James Franklin Bernhardt (Anita); one daughter, Dr. Jane Bernhardt Brummer (Paul); a daughter-in-law, Margaret Adkins ’80; one brother, Richmond G. Bernhardt, Jr. ’52 (Doris); 10 grandchildren, Dr. Emily Bernhardt, Staff Sgt. George L. Bernhardt III, Molly Naugher, J. Travis Bernhardt, Michael Brummer, Aaron Brummer, Patrick Brummer, Katherine Brummer, Samuel Bernhardt, and Mary Bernhardt; and great-grandchildren, Hannah and Gwyneth Bernhardt.