Tuesday, February 9, 2010

James V. Bernhard, AIA Emeritus – 1927-2010

Paul Edlund, AIA, FCSI sent me an e-mail with the sad news that James V. Bernhard, AIA Emeritus passed away in his sleep on Monday, February 8, 2010. Jim was 82 years old.

Jim Bernhard was president of AIA-Southwestern Oregon in 1969. He was also a founding member of the Willamette Valley Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), and was that organization’s second president in 1966.

Jim and Paul were life-long personal friends. They attended grammar school and high school together, and both enlisted in the Navy during WWII. They also pursued the same career path, studying architecture at the University of Oregon, graduating in the early 1950s.

Jim's first construction industry employment was as a cost estimator and project coordinator for the John Steinmuller Construction Co. After a few years, Jim returned to his first love: architecture. He built a career with WEGroup Architects & Planners, eventually rising to partner in the firm. He served in that role for many years.

When my wife and I settled in Eugene in 1988, Jim was one of the first architects I spoke with about employment prospects at that time. He steered me in the direction of Robertson/Sherwood/Architects, where I have been ever since. I would come to know Jim better through our mutual involvement with both AIA and CSI, during conversations at monthly chapter meetings.

Following his retirement a few years ago, Jim suffered a stroke, which undoubtedly shortened his life. He’ll be missed by his peers and colleagues, who are certain to remember his stately composure and professional leadership.

A memorial Mass for Jim will occur at 11:30 AM on Saturday, February 13, at St. Jude Catholic Church in Eugene.

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