Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lewis D. Berns

Lewis D. Berns, age 87, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at his residence.  Lewis was born in Sister Bay, WI, on January 29, 1926, son of the late William and Leona (Nee:  Bunda) Berns. He attended Sister Bay Grade School and Gibraltor High School.

Lewis was a handsome, fun-loving, and out-going person. In his early years, Lewis thrived growing up in Sister Bay, WI.  His parents owned a cherry orchard. Numerous stories exist about Lewis getting into mischief there with his brothers and friends.  His father was also the town barber.   Lewis loved to compete in sports.  He excelled as a pitcher in baseball and played in the minor leagues. He was a trophy-winning ski jumper.  His family and friends fondly remember his 110-ft. jump from Lone Pine Hill (Larsen's hill) in Door County. Lewis also loved music.  He, his brother Phil, cousin and friends put together a band they called the "Hungry 5."  They would play for small groups on the weekends in Sister Bay and at family gatherings. Lewis proudly served in the United States Army Air Corps during WWII, where he trained as a fighter pilot.

On July 14, 1945, Lewis was married to Geraldine T. Shumaker.  They built a life around their six children.  They parted after 32 years. Lewis had a career in the dry cleaning  business spanning over 40 years.  Initially, he owned and operated a dry cleaning business in Sister Bay.  Preceding the birth of his fourth child, Lewis moved to Racine, where he owned and operated Swan Cleaners for many years, retiring from Jomble, Inc. in 1986. On November 4, 1978, he married Joyce Stansfield and they enjoyed over 20 years together.  Sadly, Joyce preceded him in death on October 6, 2006.  

Lewis was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church.  He was an avid golfer and a member of the Retired Men's League at Ive's Grove.  It was devastating when his health no longer allowed him to play at Ive's.  He was also a member of the Racine Dairy Statesmen and The Church Singers. Lewis was known  for keeping a strict schedule:  Corn flakes and bananas by 8 in the morning, nap time from 12-3 in the afternoon, and his daily comradery at Hansen's shortly after 3:30 p.m.  He appreciated the simple joy of a good hamburger and took great pride in his yard, especially his impatiens.

Survivors include his children, William J. Berns of Racine, Patricia (Ronald) Langenfeld of Union Grove, Daniel (Nassrin) Berns of Boca Raton, FL, Richard (Debra) Berns of Racine; sons-in-law, C. Gordon Baker of Evansville, IN, Ronald Harden of Lake Mary, FL; step-children, Dr. Kathy (David) Berwick of Virginia Beach, VA, John (Lori) Kilsdonk of Middleton, WI; 19 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; brothers, Lester Berns of Sturgeon Bay, WI, Philip Berns of Sister Bay, WI; brothers-in-law, Hank Eckert and Rollie Benzow; his friend and companion, Karen Paulson; nieces, nephews, numerous relatives and friends.  In addition to his parents and wife, Lewis was preceded in death by his two daughters, Theresa Baker and Kristine Harden; and their mother, Geraldine Langlois; his two step-daughters, Dr. Jane Sliwinski and Mary Kay Garside; his brother, Robert; his sister, Donna Eckert; and sisters-in-law Lucille, Judy and Clarice.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, October 14, 2013, at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1533 Erie St., with Reverend Steve Varghese officiating.  Interment with full military honors will follow at Holy Family Cemetery.  Relatives and friends may meet Monday at the church from 10 a.m. until Mass begins at 11 a.m.  Memorials to  St. Joseph’s Catholic Church or the American Cancer Society have been suggested.

The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Jody Hutton, “Dad’s Guardian Angel,” for all she did for Lewis, enabling him to remain independent in his own home.  The family would also like to thank Dr. Pierce-Ruhland for his excellent care and for keeping Dad on task.

803 Main St., Racine    (262) 634-7888

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