Lt. Col. Bernard Joseph Vash passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 25, 2019. Born in Racine, Wisconsin on June 23, 1928 as the oldest of five children to Joseph and Evelyn Vash, Bernard joined the U.S. Air Force in 1949. Over the course of his continuous 21-year military career, Bernard executed almost 7000 hours of flying time, of which 3000 were combat crew time. Kicking off his highly-decorated service as a Hurricane Hunter flying B-27s in the 57th Strategic Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Bernard received many military accomplishments such as the Superior Airmanship Award from the Boeing Aircraft Company for his 1000 hours in the B-47 aircraft as a part of the Strategic Air Command, the Cigli Air Base Commander’s Trophy an unprecedented four times, the 2nd Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Medal for Meritorious Service. When asked about his experience in the U.S. Military, Bernard quoted his experience as “a full measure of satisfaction in serving the greatest country in the world.”
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After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, Bernard moved to the Bay Area to start his 2nd career as an executive at Visa. A resident San Franciscan for 45 years while married to his first wife, Magdalena, who passed away in the 1980s, Bernard officially moved to the wine country when he met and later married his second wife, Elizabeth Couse.
As a member of the Presidio Yacht Club, San Francisco Metropolitan Club and Knights of Saint John’s, Bernard is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, along with his three children, Freda, Bernard Jr., and Edgar, and his grandson, Bernard Vash, III. An avid story teller, sailor and wine enthusiast, Bernard will be greatly missed.
While Bernard will have an official military burial service in the coming months at Arlington National Cemetery, a local prayer service will be held on Bernard’s behalf this Sunday, September 8 at Grace Episcopal Church during the 8:00 AM Rite I Eucharist service. Those who knew Bernard are particularly encouraged to attend; all are welcome.