Johnnie Bernhardt, 88, of McAlester, died Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at a local nursing center.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 7 p.m. today at Brumley-Mills Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at First Freewill Baptist Church of McAlester with Brent Jarrett, Bill Kirk and Steve Mayhew officiating. Burial will be at Tannehill Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by McAlester Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1098. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Brumley-Mills Funeral Home of McAlester.
Born Dec. 31, 1925, in a rural community northeast of McAlester known as Spring Hill, he was the son of John and Lela (Jenson) Bernhardt. He walked to a one-room Spring Hill school to complete eighth grade then attended Indianola High School, graduating in 1944.
He served his country in the United States Army during World War II and was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1947.
When he returned home, he married Loretta Ott in Tannehill. He was a skilled carpenter and built a home near the Spring Hill school, and they moved into the house in 1952. He enlarged the house as the family grew.
He worked at the U.S. Army Ammunition Depot until his retirement when he could finally spend his time taking care of his cattle herd, fishing, and attending his grandkids’ ballgames, enjoying family vacations and pheasant hunting tin Kansas.
He and his wife were among the first members of First Freewill Baptist Church, where he served as deacon for many years.
Survivors include his wife, Loretta Bernhardt, of the home; one son, Allen Bernhardt, of McAlester; three daughters and sons-in-law, Pam and Ronnie Ragan, of McAlester, Susie and Lou Lyles, of Okmulgee, and Alta and Bill Messbarger, of Wyandotte.
Also, eight grandchildren, Justin Ragan and wife, Angel, of McAlester, Shane Ragan and wife, Wendy, of McAlester, Blake Lyles and wife, Jennifer, of Yukon, Annie Lyles, of Moore, Westy Bernhardt and wife, Kendra, of Shawnee, Randi Chandler, of Tulsa, Jonathan Bernhardt, of Quinton, and Hannah Bernhardt, of Quinton; five great-grandchildren, Lauri Ragan, J.W. Ragan and Bryce Ragan, all of McAlester, and Ayson Bernhardt and Kanon Bernhardt, both of Shawnee; two sisters, Irene K. Jarrett, of McAlester, and Dorothy Sparks, of McAlester, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a grandson, Jordan Bernhardt; a brother, Harold Bernhardt, and a sister, Oletha Sparks.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons.
Honorary pallbearers will be Jack Mouser, Bo Davenport, Ronnie Ragan, Lou Lyles and Bill Messbarger.