Cover photo for Willie Bernhardt's Obituary
Willie Bernhardt Profile Photo
1936 Willie Bernhardt 2023

Willie Bernhardt

July 24, 1936 — November 27, 2023



Willie Bernhardt, 87, of Milwaukie, Oregon passed away peacefully on Monday, November 27, 2023.

Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at Christ the King Church, Milwaukie, OR, with Monsignor John Cihak officiating. A livestream will be available at for those unable to attend in person. Rosary service will precede the mass at 10:15 a.m. Burial with military honors will be at Gethsemani Catholic Cemetery in Happy Valley.


Willie was born July 24, 1936 in Linton, ND, the son of William and Rosie (Kuntz) Bernhardt. He grew up on the family farm in Linton, attended country school through eighth grade and graduated from Linton High School in 1955.

Serving in the U.S. Army from June 9, 1955 to May 18, 1957, Willie specialized in radio operations and field artillery for the 11th Airborne division. After his honorable discharge from the military, Willie returned to North Dakota where he met the love of his life, Veronica.

On August 11, 1958, Willie married Veronica Ternes at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Bismarck, North Dakota. Following their marriage, they moved to Portland, Oregon where they were blessed with five children.

Willie was a faithful Catholic and longtime member of Christ the King Catholic church where he attended mass regularly with family for 60 years. He was an active volunteer for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, routinely delivering holiday food baskets to those in need.

Though he moved from his family farm as an adult, the farm influence stayed with Willie; evident in his love of animals and career choice of working with heavy equipment. He started and successfully ran his own construction company, operating heavy equipment to build logging and forest service roads.

Willie was known for the smile he always had on his face, his jovial spirit and wonderful sense of humor. He enjoyed the outdoors, spending time camping and fishing with his family, who were his greatest passion. Willie was a kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He had a calming way of lovingly rocking grandchildren and great grandchildren to sleep and tenderly holding them for hours.

In his retired years, Willie enjoyed tending to his roses, fruit trees and garden, as well as feeding and watching birds. He was recognized in the neighborhood for his daily walks where he would stop and chat with neighborhood friends.

Willie is survived by his daughters Doris Huttula, Peggy (Willie) Fisher, Pam (Jim) Velasquez, Sandra Sebastian; his son Patrick Bernhardt; grandchildren Lauren and Jake Huttula, Brandon (Leah) and Nick (Rachael) Fisher, Tori and Joe Velasquez, Ted, Rachel, Sara, and Sophia Sebastian, and Kristina (Zach) Teichert; great grandchildren Lydia, Henry, Hailey and Paige Fisher, and Ezra and Winifred Teichert; sisters Alvina Schaff and Phyllis Werner; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents William and Rosie (Kuntz) Bernhardt; wife Veronica (Ternes) Bernhardt; brothers Sebastian Bernhardt, Lee Bernhardt, Tony Bernhardt, George Bernhardt, Jackie Bernhardt; sisters Regina Bernhardt, Francis Kuntz, Rose Marie Sperle, Helen Bernhardt, and son-in-law Dave Huttula.

The family wishes to thank Victor, Mia, Chris, and Joanna Mocan of Bolton / Hand In Hand Adult Care for their excellent and loving care.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Willie Bernhardt, please visit our flower store.


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