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Bernard W. Nerlich of Franklin, PA passed away peacefully with his family at his side after a brief illness in Marathon Key, Florida on Tuesday, January 19.

Bernie was born on July 28, 1936 in Pittsburgh, PA, to his parents Bernard and Alma Nerlich. He had one older sister, Gertrude, who preceded him in death. In 1960 he married Ruthanne Sturges and from 1965 on they made their home in Franklin.

In addition to Ruthanne, Bernie is survived by his son Bernard R. Nerlich of Franklin and Bern’s daughters Haley, Amber and Kellianne. He is also survived by his daughter Bethanne Martin and Bethanne’s husband Ben and sons Hunter and Trace of Monroe, NC.

Bernie Nerlich built his career in the steel industry, first at Ryerson, then at Franklin Steel where he served as executive vice president, and finally when he started his own company 4N Corporation in Venango County in the mid-1990s. Located now in Seneca, with Bernie Jr. as president, it remains today a proud monument to Bernie’s incredible work ethic, innovation, and drive.

Bernie loved family, God and country, and spent a lot of his leisure time pursuing passions such as boating and fishing, particularly in Conneaut Lake, Lake Erie, and the Florida Keys, and, for a 20 year span, raising and showing horses with his family. A veritable “life force” to all who knew him, Bernie left an impression wherever he went, with a gruff demeanor but a heart as big as a house. He had a wonderful sense of humor, was very loyal to his friends and family, and always gave generously to help others.

Bernie will be entombed at the Franklin Cemetery immediately and a memorial service will follow in the late spring. Memorials may be sent to The Collins Hospice House of the Venango VNA Foundation at 491 Allegheny Boulevard, Franklin, PA. 16323. Their phone number is (814) 437-0365. Arrangements have been entrusted to Loutzenhiser-Jordan Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 366-368 S. Main St., Greenville, PA.

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27 Comments

  1. Linda Lusher Linda Lusher
    January 22, 2021    

    I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with all of you.

    Linda Lusher

  2. Bill and Cheri Baker Bill and Cheri Baker
    January 22, 2021    

    Such a great man in so many ways. Our sincere condolences to Ruthanne and the family. We will miss him!.

  3. Mae Stewart Mae Stewart
    January 22, 2021    

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Bernie was a special guy and will be missed.

  4. John Gallagher John Gallagher
    January 22, 2021    

    I am so sorry to hear about this. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

  5. Sue Barnes Sue Barnes
    January 22, 2021    

    Ruthanne, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. My love and prayers to you and your family.

  6. Nancy and Richard Pastorius Nancy and Richard Pastorius
    January 22, 2021    

    Ruthanne, Bernie and Bethanne, I am sorry for your loss.
    Ruthanne, its been awhile since we saw each other and spoke, my heart goes out to you on losing Bernie, you both were such a dynamic couple. God will watch over him as he will you. God Bless all of you.

  7. Sally Zinz Sally Zinz
    January 23, 2021    

    Bernie was a great landlord to me for 7 years I lived at SUGARBUSHi ESTATES and made a great friend. So sorry for your loss and will miss him. He really like to tease me and i took him seriously but found out he was only kidding. What a guy!!!! God Bless

  8. Pastor David Foote Pastor David Foote
    January 23, 2021    

    Bernie was always nice to me. I appreciated our business dealings. He will be missed.

  9. Jim and Lynn Chuey Jim and Lynn Chuey
    January 23, 2021    

    We always enjoyed our conversations with Bernie at the club. Such a fine, fun person. He will be missed.

  10. Rosalyn Miller Rosalyn Miller
    January 23, 2021    

    I would like to express my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved husband, father, and grandfather. One of his greatest legacies will forever be his wonderful children, both of whom I had the pleasure of teaching at Rocky Grove High School. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you now and in the difficult days that lie ahead. Wishing you comfort and peace as you remember the happy times you shared…

  11. Ruth Woolcock Ruth Woolcock
    January 23, 2021    

    Ruthanne and family,
    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

  12. Barb and Dave English Barb and Dave English
    January 23, 2021    

    Ruthanne and family. Prayers for strength for the days ahead. We are so sorry for your loss.

  13. Marilyn MILLER Marilyn MILLER
    January 23, 2021    

    My sincere condolences to Bernie’s family. I worked at Cooganh’s Pllumbing for 31 years and he would always come and get parts for the rentals. He was always in such a great spirit when he cane in. May he rest in peace, and his memories will live on in your hears.

  14. Peggy Butler Lore Peggy Butler Lore
    January 24, 2021    

    Ruthanne: I was saddened by the news of Bernie’s passing. Bernie was my first boss, & I will always be grateful for not only his patience with me but also the good work ethic he instilled in me by example – we worked hard but we had fun too! May you and your family be surrounded by God’s comfort & peace in the days ahead.

  15. Joel Parquette Joel Parquette
    January 24, 2021    

    To The Nerlich Family – so sorry for your loss, keep you in thoughts & prayers at this difficult time.

  16. Joey Joey
    January 24, 2021    

    Ruthanne, Bethanne and Bern,

    I will remember his laughter, kindness, generosity, his financial advice and wisdom. A favorite memory of him was his need to call reveille very early every morning while we were on vacation.
    Reminding us that those who hoot with the owls at night will not sore with eagles in the morning.
    Bernie’s passing has left a very big hole in my heart.

  17. Cindy Morgan Cindy Morgan
    January 24, 2021    

    I have a hole in my heart right now. Bernie was my uncle. My mother’s only brother but he was so much more. To me he was the patriarch of the Nerlich family. I loved him for so many reasons. His love for his family, generosity, wisdom, strength, kindness, convictions and did I mention his sarcasm and sense of humor which I think I enjoyed the most . Too many stories to mention here but ones that will last many lifetimes to come. I will surely miss this man.

  18. Paul and Edna Gierlach Paul and Edna Gierlach
    January 25, 2021    

    To Ruthanne and family,
    We are very sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace,

  19. Greg Greg
    January 25, 2021    

    Ruthanne, Bern and Bethanne,
    The world was a better place with Bernie in it, but even though his flame has been extinguished his light continues to shine.
    We shall miss his presence but will long remember his accomplishments.

  20. Anonymous Anonymous
    January 25, 2021    

    Deepest sympathies during this difficult time.

    Barb Meehan and family

  21. Tracy M Smith Tracy M Smith
    January 25, 2021    

    My Uncle Bernie was one of the most generous and loving men I have known even if it was hidden behind a bit of a “gruff” demeanor – though we never took that very seriously. In fact, it only made him more charming. He was so proud of his family and that light extended to the outer edges of those lucky enough to be called part it. My most coveted childhood summer vacation memories are closely tied to Uncle Bernie, Aunt Ruthanne (and crew) – and Conneaut Lake – in full measure due to their kindness, warmth, welcoming spirit and willingness to put up with a bunch wild kids descending upon their once peaceful home on the lake. We were always guaranteed at least a few good late nights playing cards and laughing until our bellies hurt, more food and drink than one should ever admit they enjoyed in one vacation and more adventures on the lake than any one person deserves (and that’s only if you lived through it). Uncle Bernie was always sure that all the “toys” were working and the gas tank was full before we arrived and should something break down (things always break with this crew) or cease working he was fast to fix it so as not to interrupt the fun. This usually elicited a few grumbles along the way, but I don’t think there was a person there more interested in seeing the fun resume than Uncle Bernie. To Ruthanne, Bern Jr., Bethanne, Ben, Haley, Amber, Kellianne, Hunter and Trace – our deepest condolences and love to you. The world will never be the same without him.

  22. Steve and Wanda Gladd Steve and Wanda Gladd
    January 25, 2021    

    We are so very sorry to hear about Bernie’s passing. He was a special man. Even though it has been a while since we have seen this wonderful family, the great memories are still very fresh in our hearts. The girls weekends were so much fun and getting together with this family included so much laughter and kindness. We are thinking of all of you and sending love and hugs. We miss you so very much❤️ especially our amazing adventures with Ben and Bethie. We send our ❤️, thoughts and prayers.

  23. Patty Librizzi Patty Librizzi
    January 26, 2021    

    I am so sorry for the loss of Bernie!! I live in his apartments and he always treated me with respect!! He was very a very nice man!! So sorry for his family!! He will sure be missed by many!!

  24. Phil and Carol Thompson Phil and Carol Thompson
    January 28, 2021    

    Ruthanne, Bernie, Haley, Amber, Kellianne and Rina,
    Our sympathy and caring sent your way in this time of loss. We are vey sorry to learn Bernie has passed.
    Prayers for your comfort and healing.

  25. Lisa Raum, RDN (Registered Dietitian DaVita & Fresenius) Lisa Raum, RDN (Registered Dietitian DaVita & Fresenius)
    February 1, 2021    

    Ruthanne, I am a bit delayed posting here because I have been caring for my father, who has just passed as of a few days ago. I have not been at the dialysis facility much for the past 2 months because of my father’s illness, thus I am not sure exactly when I last saw Bernie (early January or late December?) and I was so saddened to hear of his passing when I was informed by my colleagues. Having engaged with him at both of the clinics in Key West when he was in the Keys, I feel like I got to see him quite a bit. It was always such a pleasure to catch up with him; he always seemed happy to interact, he was respectful yet friendly and good-humored, and he was always eager to understand and participate in all aspects of his care). As I read the comments here I can understand the references to a “faux gruff” demeanor, which makes me chuckle. I recall him recently telling me I should be a used-car salesman based on my trying to appease everyone’s frustrations during the first week of the transition from one clinic to the other. I will so miss the warm greeting he always gave me when we crossed paths; I looked forward to our chats. I am blessed to meet and build long-term relationships with many people in my professional endeavors, but not all rapports are so easily established and rewarding. Bernie was one of those rare few. I am grateful for the opportunity to have known him. All my best, Lisa

  26. Niki Forrest Niki Forrest
    February 4, 2021    

    Dearest Ruthanne,
    I am sorry for the loss of your husband Bernie. I think of you fondly and remember you as the best nursing manager I ever had. Many years have passed since we moved from Franklin, but I will always cherish the memories of my time at VNA. Bless you and your family at this difficult time.

  27. Nancy Petralia Nancy Petralia
    February 4, 2021    

    Ruthanne, Bethanne and Bernie,

    John and I were so sorry to read of Bernie’s passing. While I didn’t know him well, I remember him as a kind man and a proud dad. I’m sure you have so many memories to cherish. Know that you will all be in our thoughts and prayers.

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