Jerome Edwin Jerry Bernard

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    - Sue Weisenreider
  • "A sweet and funny man who was the highlight of a my day..."
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  • "Knowledgable to talk to and a nice person."
    - Mike Harris
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Jerome Edwin "Jerry" Bernard
AIKEN, SC - Jerome Edwin "Jerry" Bernard, 86, passed away Monday, August 8, 2016 at his home in Aiken, SC.
He was born September 22, 1929 to William Francis and Elizabeth (Collins) Bernard in Queens NY. Foxhunter, show rider, riding master...a true horseman, Aiken's horse community has lost one of its greats.
Jerry's fondness for horses began at an early age. He took every opportunity to be around horses even if it meant skipping school. His truancy abruptly ended when his parochial school teacher threatened to inform his father. At only 10 years old, he was driving a team of horses delivering produce through the streets of Brooklyn.
Following high school, with his father's encouragement, he accepted a position as a shipping clerk with the Belgian Steamship line at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In 1951, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served during the Korean War. Upon discharge, he studied accounting at St. John's University.
His passion for horses prevailed and in 1957, Jerry held the position of show-rider and instructor at St. James School of Horsemanship in Long Island, NY and then became the riding master at St. Joseph's Academy for girls in Brentwood. During summers, he managed the riding program at Our Lady of Lourdes camp in Livingston Manor, NY. Later, under Ward Melville's employ, he was head horseman at Wide Water farm in Old Town, Long Island. He was a professional Whipper-in and trainer of hounds for the Smithtown Hunt.
Jerry's bond with Aiken began in 1971 when he moved his family from Long Island, drawn to this southern town by the equestrian friendly community and the lure of Hitchcock Woods. He accepted a groom position with Pete Bostwick's Racing Stable shortly after arriving. When Mr. Bostwick discovered Jerry's ability to control hounds, he was appointed Whipper-in (to assist Mrs. Bostwick) for the Aiken Hounds. His participation with all of Aiken's fox hunting clubs contributed to the fulfillment and satisfaction of his life in Aiken.
He served as riding master for the Aiken Preparatory School for boys. Jerry opened Fox Hollow Stable for the casual rider to experience the beauty of the Hitchcock Woods. During the summers he operated the riding program at Camp Illahee in Brevard, NC.
In his later years Jerry managed Breeze Hill Plantation and provided horses for hunting and trail riding in the Hitchcock Woods. Jerry also enjoyed working with the community and staff at the Clemson Extension Agricultural Center.
He was a beloved personality at the Willcox and gladly shared his knowledge of Aiken, horses and humorous stories of old with familiar and new faces alike.
He is survived by his loving family, including his two daughters, Geraldine Paxton, Aiken, SC, Joanne (Mike) Hay, Evans, GA; his three sons, Billy Bernard, Aiken, SC, Brian (Lisa) Bernard, Aiken, SC, Christopher (Yui) Bernard, Japan; and the loving mother of his children and dear friend, Pat Bernard, Aiken, SC. Grandchildren, Trey Paxton, Ian Reese, Whitney Tharp, Kathryn Tharp, Jordan (Shelby) Bernard, Hunter Tharp, Mackenzie Hay, Peyton Tharp, Grisham Bernard, Sylvia Bernard, Alex Bernard, Isabella Bernard, Miah Bernard and Weslyn Bernard; three brothers, Ray (Judy) Bernard (FL), Larry (Ann) Bernard (CA), and the late Jack Bernard. He was preceded in death by his beloved horses - "Pumpkin" and "Cinnamon."
A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 24, 2016, at 3:30 p.m., at the Shellhouse - Rivers Funeral Home, Inc. 715 East Pine log Road, Aiken, SC, followed by a Celebration of Jerry's Life at the historic Willcox Hotel from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like Jerry's fond love of the Hitchcock Woods to be carried on through a memorial dedicated to the Hitchcock Woods Foundation, P.O. Box 1702, Aiken, SC 29802.
SHELLHOUSE - RIVERS FUNERAL HOME, 715 EAST PINE LOG RD.
Jerry's online guest book may be signed by visiting shellhouseriversfuneralhome.com.
Funeral Home
Shellhouse-Rivers Funeral Home, Inc. - Aiken
715 East Pine Log Road
Aiken, SC 29803
803-641-4401
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Published in The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star from Aug. 9 to Aug. 15, 2016
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