Your life was a blessing; your memory a treasure; you are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure (author unknown). The world lost one of our most beloved WWII veterans, Bernard A. Mulder Jr. Bernard, better known as Grandpa Bernard, passed away on Jan. 10, 2017, at the age of 94.

Bernard was born in Beaumont, Texas, on July 21, 1922, to Francis and Bernard A. Mulder Sr. He was the eldest of two sons. His brother, Francis, passed away at a young age. Bernard grew up in Beaumont and Galveston. He graduated from Galveston High School in 1939.

Bernard enlisted with Army Air Corps in May of 1941. He flew training operations until heading overseas in November 1942 to join the war effort. Bernard was stationed with the British Aid Army in North Africa, where he flew supplies to Cairo and The Western Front and returned the wounded to hospitals. He dropped paratroopers over Egypt and Sicily. On D-Day, Bernard dropped the famous 82nd Airborne at Sainte Mere-Englise. The day after D-Day, while dropping supplies to troops in France, his plane was hit and he took flak in his leg — shattering his shin bone. In July 1944, Bernard was flown back to the United States to recover.

During his nine-month recovery, Bernard met the love of his life, an Australian nurse named Margaret. Bernard and Margaret married in July 1945 and in January 1946, Bernard ended his service in the military.

Through the G.I. Bill, Bernard attended the University of Colorado and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Bernard and Margaret then moved to Perth, Australia, in August of 1960, where Bernard worked as a machine designer for 15 years. Sadly, upon Margaret’s death in 1975, Bernard returned to the United States, where he would discover and develop his love for travel.

Bernard and Margaret did not have any children of their own, but Bernard volunteered with the Foster Grandparent Program and was stationed with Community Day Care & Enrichment Center up until his passing. Bernard’s love for creation and art was felt throughout all of his projects he created with the children. As well as his love for public transportation, as he befriended many of the local bus drivers. Grandpa Bernard touched many children, families and individuals throughout his life and will be greatly missed.

Graveside services with full military honors will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel.

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