I'm not sure how many of you have been aware that Bernie has been fighting for his life for the past year. Very shortly after serving his usual role as the finish line PA announcer at what was to be his last IRA Regatta, June 2-4, 2005, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that eventually took his life from us earlier this evening, May 8th.Bernie passed away at 6 p.m. on May 8 among a steady stream of visiting friends.
Feisty to the end, Bernie refused to let this "thing" slow him down, logging more air miles in the past 10 months than most of us have in 10 years - to Australia, Hawaii, and Europe, and the west coast, to see clients and attend dairy conventions, always coinciding with some rowing "business". My last visit with him was late last fall, in Boston, when he then required a "walker" to move about. I barely kept pace with him as we walked from his apartment to his favorite restaurant, the Cambridge Legal Seafood. We crossed the street in front of the restaurant without waiting for traffic, or even looking right or left - Bernie claimed no-one would dare hit an old man with a walker, even in Cambridge.
We all know that Bernie's first love was to rowing, at all levels, for both men and for women. He was a typical coxswain, a talker, about everything and anything, factual or not made little difference. He was thus a perfect candidate to handle the finish line duties as PA announcer, which he did at the HOC, the EARC Sprints and the IRA Regattas for more years than I can remember. We all know that, to Bernie, there was no such thing as "down time" between races. I'll think of him fondly whenever there's a lull in the commentary during future regattas. I know I'll miss him. I also know you will as well.