ERWIN "BERNIE" BERNSTEINErwin "Bernie" Bernstein, 87, passed away Tuesday June 4, 2013 at Bayshore Health Care Center in Duluth.
Erwin "Bernie" Bernstein, 87, passed away Tuesday June 4, 2013 at Bayshore Health Care Center in Duluth.
Bernie was born Sept. 30, 1925 to Berney and Anna (Pusin) Bernstein, and was raised in LaCrosse, Wis.
Bernie's lifelong passion for the trumpet began when he was 10 years old. He was given a bugle by his local Boy Scout troop's scoutmaster after attending drum and bugle corps rehearsals, which he was too young to join. He went home and self-taught himself to play. Played throughout high school, organized his own band, and played for all school functions.
After graduation in 1943, Bernie joined the Navy and was assigned to one of the Time Magazine-Coca-Cola traveling Navy Bands. When not on the road he played "Taps" at the base where he was stationed. After the service he attended the U of M and received his BA degree and pursued and received his Masters in Music Education from U of M McPhail. He taught for a short time but found himself selling cars during the summer and continued full time and met his longtime friend Jack Krenzen. Together the two men transformed struggling dealerships in the Twin Cities area and went on to do the same in Duluth. Bernie was General Manager for Krenzen Auto in Duluth, retiring in 1988.
Bernie was a gentleman whose gentle demeanor was only trumped by his tremendous musical talent. He traveled and played Burlesque, night clubs, Ice Capades, Circus and legitimate stage shows in the Twin Cities area before moving to Duluth. He performed backup for Patti Page, Zero Montel, Sony and Cher, Roy Orbison, June Christy, Dick Haymes, and many other performers. Bernie loved to play at the Club Saratoga, the Randy Lee Big Time Jazz Band, Hungry Five, Windjammers, and the North Shore Band until he was robbed of his talent due to a stroke 13 years ago. In 2009 he was given the prestigious Society of Promethean Award for a lifetime of musical achievement from the UMD School of Fine Arts.
He was a volunteer at St. Mary's Outpatient for 14 years. Bernie was a member of the Add Temple Shrine, and the Palestine Lodge No. 79. Bernie lived his life with humility and the AA philosophy for 51 years of grateful sobriety.
Bernie was preceded in death by his parents; son Michael Ellis; and a step-son Jon Scott.
Bernie is survived by his loving wife Fran; sister Nancy McParlan; step-daughter Lizabeth (Erich) Pearson; step-grandchildren Stefanie (Arthur) Taylor, Tyler Pearson, Alex (Katy) Pearson, and Page Pearson; great-grandson Mattis Taylor; niece Beth (Scott) Lennartson, and a nephew Patrick McParlan.
Our Sincere thanks and appreciation to Dr. John Van Etta, St. Luke's Hospice and Bayshore Health Center staff for their professional, compassionate and devoted care.
MEMORIAL AND CELEBRATION OF LIFE: 11 a.m. Saturday June 29, 2013 in Sunrise Funeral Home. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Military Honors will be Accorded by the Duluth Combined Honor Guard. Memorials are preferred to the UMD Bernstein-Krenzen Scholorship Fund in Care of Bob Hofmann, UMD School of Fine Arts. Arrangements by Sunrise Funeral Home. To leave an online condolence see www.sunrisefuneralhomeandcemetery.com.
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