AUGUSTA, Ga. - Bernard Joseph Flatow, 95, of Augusta Georgia, passed away, Friday, May 1, 2015 at "The Place at Martinez" nursing home. Bernard was born March 22, 1920 in Queens, New York to Richard and Hattie Flatow. In high school he came in second in the New York state Spanish competition, only beaten out by a Puerto Rican boy. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina in 1942, and shortly after, hoped on a boat headed to South America where he worked for various companies. He then returned to the United States to enlist in the Navy. The U.S. was having trouble with China at the time and needed naval officers who could communicate with Chinese officers, so Bernard was selected to study at the University of Boulder Colorado for 18 months where he became fluent in Cantonese. After being honorably discharged, he returned to South America where he worked for several other international companies. In Venezuela, he worked for Heineken beer and met his wife, a traveling Swedish model named Birgitta Segerskog. They had 2 children Bernadette and Richard and moved to Mexico City where they remained for many years. Bernard started an advertising agency in Mexico and represented Twentieth Century Fox, Frito Lay, Pepsi and other multinational corporations. Bernard was very creative and would give meaningful titles in Spanish to American movies so that they would be better understood and perform well at the box-office. He frequently entertained stars like, Joan Crawford, Barbara Streisand, Danny Kay, Gene Hackman, Burt Reynolds, Liza Minelli, etc.. that were shooting films in Mexico. Later in life Bernard married Consuelo Rojo in Mexico City and raised his three step children, Salvador, Eduardo and Gabriel for many years until Consuelo's passing in the early 1980's. Finally, he married Alicia Castaneda whom he lived with in Chapel Hill NC. Over many years of living internationally, Bernard learned 7 languages. He was fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Malay and Cantonese. For over 40 years he collected rare books on the chronicles of the new world. He compiled an important collection which now resides in the rare book room of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and referred to as "The Bernard J. Flatow Collection". In 2012 he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bernard is survived by his two children, Bernadette and Richard, along with various step-children from other marriages, Bettina, Salvador, Gabriel and Eduardo. He also has several grandchildren and stepgrandchildren: David, Britta, Nicolas, Bernardo, Michael, Fallan, Rafael, Chloe, Alexander, Victor, Elena, and Phillip. In lieu of Flowers, you can make a donation to the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in his name at http://giving.unc.edu/giving-options/.
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Published in The Augusta Chronicle on May 3, 2015