Lyle Dean Bernius, 71, of Keene, NH passed away Feb. 11, 2012, at his home surrounded by family and friends after a courageous fight with cancer.
He was born in Vandalia, Ill., June 2, 1940, son of Paul and Alice (Brown) Bernius. He graduated from Vandalia High School and then from Chaminade University in Honolulu. He went on to receive his master’s in business administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In 1973, he married Cathy Garren in Arlington, Va.
Mr. Bernius began his career with the U.S. Agency for International Development, an agency of the U.S. State Department in 1968. Starting in Vietnam, he served in a number of countries including Kinshasa, Zaire, Port Au Prince, Haiti, Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Maseru, Lesotho. He retired from diplomatic service in 1990, and moved to Keene with his family in 1992.
In his retirement, he kept busy managing family-owned rental properties. He also served on the boards of the Woodward Home and the United Spinal Association, formerly Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association. Mr. Bernius enjoyed skiing, often volunteering with an adaptive ski program. Always open to new challenges, he became a talented watercolor painter. An avid reader, his interests included politics, Westerns, mysteries and some science fiction. He enjoyed fishing, traveling, and wandering back roads. Nicknamed the “Ice Cream Man,” he was popular with family and friends for his homemade ice cream and blueberry jelly.
He is remembered by his family and friends as an open-hearted, generous and knowledgeable man, who was a good conversationalist, gifted and colorful storyteller, and a humorous practical jokester.
Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Cathy Bernius of Keene; his two daughters, Stephanie Kimber and her husband, Matthew, and Amanda Bernius, all of Keene; and many very close family friends. His parents, his sister, Norma Case, and his father and mother-in-law, Joseph and Martha Garren, all died earlier.