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Obituary for Bernard J. Bourgeois (Bourgeois)

Bernard J.  Bourgeois (Bourgeois)
Bernard J. Bourgeois, 84, long time resident of Bennington, died Friday evening April 13, 2018, at SVMC after a long illness, surrounded by his family.

Bernie was born August 15, 1933, in Colchester, to Firmin and Aldea (Daigneault) Bourgeois. He was raised on family farms in Salisbury and Whiting and educated in local schools. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a radio operator on Okinawa.

He found his way to Bennington in the early 1960s where he found Bernie’s Trucking, a garbage business he ran for twenty years. One of his stops was Grant’s, where he met Joanne Bronson, the office manager. They married July 13, 1968, at St. Francis de Sales Church in Bennington.

After he sold the garbage business, he worked for Montgomery Ward, sold cars for Ace Auto, and spent many years as the Building Manager at the State of Vermont Office building in Bennington, from where he “retired.” Ever restless, he then sold appliances for Hollister Appliance and then was the elevator operator for the Bennington Battle Monument, a job he loved. Bernie loved to work and was known as a great salesman.

Bernie loved the outdoors and for many years was seen walking the streets of Bennington for exercise. He and his walking partner, Carol Beaudoin, walked together daily for years.

He was a devout member and a regular volunteer at Sacred Heart Parish and then Sacred Heart-St. Francis de Sales. He is a past President of the Bennington Rescue Squad. Under his leadership, the “new” squad house on McKinley St. was built. He was always very proud of that accomplishment.

Survivors include his wife, Joanne Bourgeois, of Bennington, his son, Rev. Msgr. Bernard W. Bourgeois of Rutland, and his daughter Julie (Travis) Oakes of Bennington. He is also survived by three granddaughters, Carrie Bourgeois, Dana Prouty, and Courtney Prouty of Bennington, . two brothers, Andre of New Jersey and Bruno of Florida and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents and six siblings: Rose (Joseph) Butler, Leona (Reginald) Hart, Louisa (Adrian) Gingras, Theresa (Henry) Bertrand, Remi Bourgeois and Charles Bourgeois.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, April 18, at 2 PM at Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church, with burial to follow at Park Lawn Cemetery. A wake will be held at E.P. Mahar and Son Funeral Home on Tuesday from 4 to 7, with a prayer service at 6 followed by time for personal reflections.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the Bennington Rescue Squad or Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales School through the funeral home office.

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