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Bernard L. Regan

June 14, 1934 May 25, 2020
Bernard L. Regan
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Obituary for Bernard L. Regan

Bernie was born in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Flag Day 1934, his father, a mine demolition man and his mother the Post Master of Negaunee, Michigan. Growing up in the UP he did the typical kid things, fishing, swimming in off limits lakes, hanging out with friends and chasing girls. He was very involved in his church, St. Paul in Negaunee. He had many stories of crazy adventures there, including a series of bingo prizes that built over weeks to the final prize of a monkey. He was a frustrated wannabe pianist. His mother taught piano but wouldn’t teach him, and the Nun at school that taught piano wouldn’t teach him because his mom was a piano teacher. He was a multi-sport participant in High School. His true level of success seemed to grow as time went on. He played basketball and football in school, softball in the summer and ski jumped in the winter.

Bernie proudly served in the Navy after high school and saw the world. He did have an article, with picture, from a Japanese newspaper that he claimed talked about him ski jumping in Japan as part of a US Navy group. This hasn’t been verified, and could be slightly embellished. Many other stories can be told about his adventures as a sailor, but not in mixed company.

Upon his return to the UP, he worked various jobs – as a member and bartender at the Elks Lodge #1116 in Negaunee, Michigan, an underground iron ore miner, and anything else he could do to earn a dollar. In 1960, he married the love of his life, Judy Anderson. He attended Northern Michigan University and earned a teaching degree. Upon completion of his degree, and the birth of their first child Kevin, they “escaped” the UP for greener pastures, getting a teaching job in Walled Lake, Michigan. One of his claims to fame was hearing Dr. Martin Luther King give his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Walk to Freedom held in Detroit in 1963 that he attended with members of the Teacher’s Union.

During the summers, he, like many other teachers, got jobs in manufacturing, Bernie worked at the Ford Rouge Plant. Around that time, child #2 arrived – Kathy. After a couple summers, he decided to leave teaching, got a fulltime job at Ford, and bought the first family home in Westland as the third member of the brood, Kristine, came along. Bernie proudly stayed with Ford for most of the next 30 years (he had a brief diversion into sales during a downturn in the auto industry).

In 1972 the family moved to Brighton, Michigan. Bernie was a charter member of Knights of Columbus Council 7304 and a member of K of C 4th Degree Assembly 2150 in Brighton and was parish council president. He led the group that started the regionally famous and highly successful annual St. Pat’s Festival.

He was an amateur politician, holding a couple of offices in Green Oak Township and campaigned fruitlessly for Democratic candidates in Livingston County in the ‘70’s and ‘80s. Bernie had many hobbies over the years, one of his favorites was Radio Controlled model airplanes which he quickly became an expert in purchasing. Not flying.

After spending his last couple years at Ford working in Germany and traveling around Europe, he and Judy returned home to retirement and life split between God’s country in the Upper Peninsula and Heaven’s waiting room in Florida.

In 2011, they decided to sell the camp in the UP and they’ve spent the last 9 years soaking up the heat, and surviving a few hurricanes in Florida. Bernie was an avid golfer and did have a hole in one at his “home course” in Florida. He and Judy traveled with friends and enjoyed life. He especially enjoyed his 6 grandchildren and got to spend time with his 2 great-grandchildren.

The last couple of years have been rough for Bernie. He hung in there until the end, it seemed that as soon he was sure the kids were there for Judy, he could be off to a better place. The family had many laughs about who may be first in line to meet him when he arrived in heaven.

Bernie left an indelible impression on many people and was certainly a role model of how to be a husband, father and friend. As a bookend of sorts, he passed away on Memorial Day 2020.

Bernie is survived by his beloved wife, Judy and children, Kevin (Nancy) Regan, Kathleen (Brigid Lynch) Regan, and Kristine (Charles) Hack. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Kendra (Sean) Allen, Sarah, Katie, Joe, Jack, and David Regan, great-grandchildren, Jake and MacKenzie Allen, and many nieces and nephews. Bernie is preceded in death by his brother, John (the late Colleen) Regan and sister, Patricia (the late Robert) Olson.

A private Funeral Mass will be celebrated.

Memorials appreciated to Vista Maria, 20651 W. Warren, Dearborn Heights, Michigan 48127, Alzheimer's Association, 25200 Telegraph, Suite 100, Southfield, Michigan 48033, or the Charity of the Donor's Choice.

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