AUGUSTA - William Joseph Bernier, 90, of Gardiner, passed away Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 at Maine Veterans' Home, where he had resided for several months.
Mr. Bernier, known affectionately by friends and family as "Lou" and "Pa," was born in Chelsea, July 19, 1923 to Leon and Virginia (Dubuc) Bernier. He grew up in Augusta, and was educated at St. Augustine School and Cony High School. He served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II as an ordnance supply technician, supervising 15 enlisted personnel in the operation of ordnance automotive and armament depot. Following the war, he joined the Maine National Guard.
Mr. Bernier attended many trade schools, held Master Electrician and Oil Burner Technician licenses, and was a certified underground oil storage tank installer. Beginning in 1947, he was employed by Fifield Bros. Co., Rideout Oil and C.N. Brown, installing gasoline equipment throughout Maine and New Hampshire. He could fix most anything, loved to tinker and was a gifted, self-taught engineer.
In 1950, he married the love of his life, Pauline Lathrop, and they moved to Gardiner, where they enjoyed family life. Mr. Bernier was a loving grandfather who liked to fish, roller skate, play pool and tend his flower gardens. In his later years, he enjoyed driving his Lincoln to visit area friends and relatives. He always had a joke, ditty or story ready to make them laugh. He was predeceased by his wife of 50 years, Polly; three sisters, Lillian Butler, Blanche Sullivan and Yvette Dudley; and son, Thomas Bernier. He is survived by his son, Bernard Bernier and his wife, Dawnita, of Richmond, Va.; his son Barry Bernier and his wife, Patricia, of Vassalboro; his grandchildren, Gary Dion-Bernier, of Biddeford, Karen Bernier, of Windsor, and Shane Bernier, of Vassalboro; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends may visit from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 at Staples Funeral Home, 53 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner. A private burial will be held in the spring at Oak Grove Cemetery in Gardiner. Friends who choose may make donations in Mr. Bernier's memory to the
, 1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Topsham, ME 04086.