BIDDEFORD, Maine — Brother Henri Bernier, FIC, 98, died on April 3 in the Southridge Living Center in Biddeford, Maine.
Born on Aug. 4, 1915 he was the son of Antoine and Rose Anna (Ruel) Bernier of Fall River. He was educated in the parish schools of Notre Dame Parish, and began his career as a religious Brother in February, 1928 upon entering the Brothers’ formation center in La Prairie, QC, Canada. His first profession of vows in 1932 was culminated by his perpetual commitment in 1937.
His teaching career started in Canada but was mainly exercised as a highly-respected teacher of English in the Brothers’ schools in Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Fall River; Alfred, Biddeford and Sanford, Maine; and Detroit, Mich. He assumed responsibilities as principal and religious superior in several of these centers.
In addition to his master’s degree from St. Michael’s College, he spent several summers studying Spanish and German at Georgetown University. With polished language skills furthered by advanced studies in Spain, Austria and Italy, Brother Bernier became an associate professor of language arts at Walsh University, in North Canton, Ohio. While living on campus for more than 25 years, he served stints as the Brothers’ superior, house bursar, gardener and substitute cook. In 2004 the university presented him with a “Distinguished Service Award.”
In 1981 his fluency in languages earned him the position of director general of the Brothers’ international headquarters in Rome.
In 2000 he retired to the Brothers’ American retirement community on the Notre Dame campus in Alfred. His most fulfilling and productive life was recognized by Walsh University when he was presented with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2009.
Predeceased by his siblings Emile, Antoine Jr., Joseph, Florence (Lizotte), and Julienne (Dion), he is survived by one sister Lorraine Copan of Williamsburg, Va. and by many admiring nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Notre Dame Chapel in Alfred on April 24. Interment followed at the Brothers’ Cemetery in Alfred.
Contributions can be made in his memory to the Brothers’ Retirement Fund, c/o Brother Jerome Lessard, P.O. 159 Alfred, Maine, 04002
Arrangements were under the direction of Black Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Sanford-Springvale, Maine.