Ralph Dean Bernard, 70, of Bowling Green, KY passed away Monday, February 10, 2020. The Columbia, KY native was born on November 23, 1949, the son of the late Olis Raymond Bernard & Lena Inez Bernard Roden.
Ralph was the youngest of 4 children and the only son. He was a 1968 graduate of Adair County High School and received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Western Kentucky University where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. For many years, Ralph owned Shelter Insurance agencies in Columbia, KY and later Campbellsville, KY before returning to his first love, teaching. He was an exceptional educator for the Adair County Board of Education, working in the Learning and Behavior Disorders (LBD) special education program. For over 20 years, Ralph owned Bernard’s Body Shop, where he was a master in meticulous and artful auto-body repair and restoration - his talent and passion. In 2000, Ralph was involved in a motorcycle accident in which he sustained a massive traumatic head injury. Overcoming certain death and months of rehabilitation, Ralph returned to teach for 2 years before eventually retiring.
Ralph loved life and lived it with passion and zeal. He loved University of Louisville Cardinals sports, good music (on cassette tapes), traveling, cars and motorcycles, 3 Musketeers bars, and above all else, his family. His children were the axis of his world. He was a friend to many and a stranger to none. He had a disposition that made you an instant friend upon meeting him, and he deeply valued his friendships, both old and new. Ralph spent his life advocating for children, especially those who needed a voice and a champion. He had a particular love of children with critical and terminal illness, having lost his son, Joseph, to Progeria. Over the course of his rich seventy years of life, Ralph received a multitude of business and professional honors, championed youth-service causes, volunteered for The Sunshine Foundation for two decades, gave of his time to any who needed it, quietly and without expectation. Of all he accomplished on this earth, he always noted his greatest as his children, Liz and Jo-Jo.
Wife of 41 years: Betty Ervin Bernard of Bowling Green, KY
1 daughter: Elizabeth Bernard (Jim Clark) of Bowling Green, KY
2 sisters: Patty (Allen) Green of Columbia, KY; Alice Faye (Everett, deceased) Wheeler of Columbia, KY
A host of nieces & nephews
He was preceded in death by a son, Joseph Ralph Bernard and a sister, Joann Bernard Darnell.
Visitation: Thursday, February 13, 2020 from 4:00pm-8:00pmCT at J. C. Kirby & Son Lovers Lane Chapel in Bowling Green, KY
Funeral Service: 1:00pmCT on Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with visitation beginning at 10:00amCT Friday at the church
Burial: Dedication of the grave and burial at the LDS Cemetery in Sulphur Well, KY
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Bowling Green or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The obituary is a courtesy to the family by Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home.