Terry O. Bernhardt JD '77

Terry O. Bernhardt


Terry O. Bernhardt JD ’77 died of acute myeloid leukemia at home on November 23, 2020. He was 74.

Terry was born to Harry Donald Bernhardt and LaVerne Kaser Bernhardt in Tillamook, Oregon, on September 2, 1946, the elder of two sons. He graduated from Tillamook High School and was selected to attend West Point, an honor he cherished. After graduation from the University of Oregon, Terry was drafted to fight in Vietnam. He was honored as “top gun” at two different flight schools during pilot training. Based in DaNang, Terry flew 335 combat missions and received many medals, including three Distinguished Flying Crosses.

As a complex and multitalented man, Terry had many loves and talents. Following his service, he earned his JD and enjoyed a 52-year career in residential real estate appraisal. He was very active in the Oregon chapter of the Appraisal Institute, becoming its president and then going on to regional and national board service for the organization. Terry was also appointed by the governor to serve on, and later chair, the state’s Appraisal Certification and Licensing Board. While an appraiser professionally, he also served in the Oregon Air National Guard, where he flew the F4 Phantom and became the flight wing commander, retiring as a colonel. In 1987, Terry was selected to attend National War College in Washington, D.C., as the first participant from the Air National Guard. In 2005, he was inducted into the Evergreen Aviation Museum’s “Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor.”

Terry married Candace “Candy” K. Geisler and together they had a son, Nathan Paul Bernhardt. When Nathan was 7, Candy died suddenly. Terry and his son formed a very strong bond and were blessed with loving support from many members of their extended family. Later in life, Terry married Julie Ellen Branford, a longtime friend.

In his free time, Terry enjoyed being with his grandchildren, teaching the older ones how to drive and showing the youngest toy cars and watching him learn to ride his bicycle. He also liked going to the ball games of the children of friends and neighbors, further extending his sense of family connections, as well as giving treats to neighborhood dogs and feeding the birds at Starbucks in Palm Springs.

Diagnosed with leukemia in early March 2021, Terry fought the good fight against this disease and was significantly helped in this process by Dr. Elie Traer at OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute.

Terry was preceded in death by his beloved father, Don; uncles Roy, Ray, Marvin, and Richard; and aunts Dorothy, Mabel, Cleo, and Shirley. He is survived by his wife, Julie; mother, LaVerne; son, Nathan; stepson Rob; grandchildren Lucy, Elsa, and Andrew; brother Tom; aunt Donna; and many cousins.