William Richard Bernhardt
  • 83 years old
  • Date of birth: Jun 4, 1929
  • Date of passing: May 9, 2013
Let the memory of William be with us forever

Colonel William Richard Bernhardt, 83, of Port Royal Plantation, Hilton Head Island, S.C., died Thursday, May 9th in Hilton Head ,SC .  A native of New Jersey, he was the son of the late William and Edna Cook Bernhardt. He advanced to the rank of Life Scout in The Boy Scouts of America and Junior Assistant Scout Master in both Troops 49 and 85. A graduate of Red Bank High School, Red Bank, N.J., where he was a member of the Class Executive Board; school band, playing the trumpet, and the track team as a quarter-miler; after school he served on the Board of the Red Bank Teen Canteen; while on active duty he attended The University of Indiana, the European Branch of The University of Maryland, held degrees from The University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. He earned a Master’s Degree from the Army’s Command and General Staff College on July 13, 1970. He decided to make Hilton Head Island his home in January, 1977 with the purchase of Lot 7, Beach Lagoon Section of Port Royal Plantation.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army from Red Bank, N.J. During the Korean Conflict he received a Direct Commission from the Grade of Master Sergeant to Lieutenant. Later he was integrated into the Regular Officer Component of the U.S. Army based on his performance as a commissioned officer and potential for success in the future. During his military career he held numerous key command and staff positions. He retired for medical reasons as a Regular Army Finance Corps Officer after serving more than 27 years.  As a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam he received many distinguished awards and decorations, among them The Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, three Good Conduct Medals, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Korean Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with six Campaign Stars, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Medal for Gallantry and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal. He held life memberships in the American egion, Disabled American Veteran’s Non-commissioned Officer’s Association, The Retired Officer’s Association, The Society of U.S. Army Finance Corps Officer’s and Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, as well as The United States Tennis Association. 

Following his military career he undertook to volunteer his time and efforts to community activities.  He served as an Internal Revenue Service Income Tax Preparer, was one of the first to serve on the Board of The Tennis Association of Hilton Head and The Patron’s Foundation; also served on the Port Royal Plantation tennis committee that saved the property owner’s courts; he was one of the first to serve as a citizen volunteer in the Beaufort County Sheriff’s office in 1996 on Hilton Head Island and on the Community Emergency Response Team, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, President’s Citizens Corps, to name a few.

Surviving are his son, David Adams Bernhardt of Hilton Head Island, S.C.; two sisters, Edna B. Barrett of Clinton, Me.; and Nancy B. Winslow of Beverly Hills, Fla. and one grandson, David Adams Bernhardt, II of Washington, D.C. He is predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Anne Burwell Bernhardt; a son, William R. Bernhardt Jr. died of leukemia at the age of 5 on Nov. 13, 1957. One brother, Warren P. Bernhardt, died of cancer at age 49 in May, 1990.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 PM Friday, May 17th 2013 in the Eakes Funeral Chapel in Oxford by Rev. Allen Koeneke and following the service with full military honors at Elmwood Cemetery.

Eakes Funeral Home in Oxford is assisting the Bernhardt family.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by MARK THOREN on 4th April 2014

"I have known Bill and Anne for 30+ years and I can say from the bottom of my heart that they will be missed by all that knew them.  I will miss Bill very much as he was a father figure to me during my childhood and a tennis mentor.  He was very close to my parents as well.  They are all gone now and I have high hopes that in the hereafter they are raising a glass to all of us and cheering us on.  Life is so short, don't let it pass you by.

With all my heart,
Mark Thoren"

This tribute was added by Jon Sidilau on 16th May 2013

"Colonel William R Bernhardt was an excellent role model, and helped our family grow in many ways.  He and his wife Anne were loving and wonderful in every way, and will be missed.  With love always, Jon, Christine, Ander, Ryan, Sharon Bernhardt, and David A Bernhardt jr."

This tribute was added by tim roy on 15th May 2013

"I had the good fortune to have Bill & Anne as neighbors for some 10 years in Hilton Head. Bill and I had many a good conversation on diverse topics - he was a very bright and informed man.  On rare occasions we talked about  his military service and it was evident from those conversation that Bill was both a strong and compassionate leader under whom I would have  been proud to serve."

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This memorial is administered by:

Lynn Cox


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