WASHINGTON - Elmer R. Bernson, 87, of Washington passed away peacefully at his home early on Friday, May 3, 2013.
Elmer was born on June 11, 1925, in Denver, Colo., to Swan and Mildred (Carlson) Bernson. He married Ethel D. Root in Denver on June 10, 1950. Ethel survives.
Also surviving are four sons, Richard (Linda) of Denver, Willard of Washington, Edward (Gina) of Champaign and Kevin (Schryll) of Shelbyville; two daughters, Karen (Tim) Watt of Washington and Joyce (Rich) Stonecypher of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and two sisters, Mabel Nelson of Colorado and Elna Lidman of Arizona.
Elmer enjoyed his 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren along with several special nieces and nephews.
Elmer was a World War II veteran, entering the U.S. Navy in July 1943. He attended Naval Training School (Diesel) at Iowa State College in Ames. In 1945, he was aboard the ship USS Osage as motor machinist mate second class. They fought in the Atlantic and Pacific waters and were part of the Normandy Invasion on D-Day. Elmer received the Purple Heart and Silver Star from the U.S. and the Croix de Guerre from France. After serving in the Navy, Elmer attended the University of Denver, Colorado, majoring in mechanical engineering, then later at the University of Illinois, majoring in physics of metal.
Elmer was employed at Caterpillar Tractor Company as a staff engineer in the Mechanics and Control Division at the Technical Center.
He was a faithful member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, where through the years Elmer had served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and on the stewardship committee and church council.
After retirement, Elmer enjoyed spending his summers on the golf course and on Thursday mornings at the breakfast table with his good friends.
Funeral services for Elmer will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at St. Mark's Lutheran Church with Pastor John Bates officiating. Burial will follow in Hillcrest Memory Gardens, south of Washington, where military rites will be accorded by the Tazewell Military Rites Team and the U.S. Navy. Family will receive friends one hour prior to services at the church. Mason-White Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Memorials for Elmer may be directed to St. Mark's Lutheran Church.
Online condolences to the family may be made at masonfuneralhomes.com.