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  • "On behalf of the staff at the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation..."
    - The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
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Bernie died at the VA Hospice in Tucson, AZ on Dec. 4, 2012 after a struggle with pulmonary fibrosis.

Bernie was born in Burlington, WI on Oct. 27,1926 to Rev. August and Bertha (Krull) Degen. He graduated from Burlington High School in 1944. He went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for one year and was drafted by the Army in World War II. He was on his way to Okinawa when the atomic bomb was dropped. He then was sent to Hawaii for the remainder of his service. He returned to UW-Madison where he graduated with a degree in pharmacy in 1950.

He moved to La Crosse, WI where he began his career. He bought his first drug store in 1953. Over the years he branched out to three drug stores & various other enterprises.

He married Barbara Topel on May 18,1963 in La Crosse, WI.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Barbara of Green Valley, AZ; two sons, John (Julie) of Onalaska, WI, and Jeffrey (Jennifer) of Portland, OR; a daughter, Jenifer (Ann Kennedy) of Kansas City, MO; three granddaughters, Brittany and Carissa and Lola, and one grandson, August. He is also survived by one sister Elnora (David) Baptie, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Gertrude (Earl] Veenendaal and Marcella (Rev. Stanley) Schneider.

He was the 1984 Festmaster of La Crosse Oktoberfest and served on several boards. He and his wife retired to their summer home in Minocqua, WI, and moved to Green Valley, AZ in 1996. He belonged to La Crosse Country Club, Timber Ridge Country Club in Minocqua and the Country Club of Green Valley. Memorial service will be held in January.

Published in Green Valley News & Sun on Dec. 9, 2012
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