David Fredrick Bernhardt, 70, of Stewartville, Minnesota, died at home on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
David was born on March 15, 1953 in Sioux City, Iowa to Roger and Arliene (Thies) Bernhardt, the second of three children. Living briefly in Texas, Alabama, and California as a child, the family eventually settled in Moville, Iowa, where Dave graduated from Woodbury Central High School in 1971.
After high school, Dave enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving in Washington, DC as a legal specialist from 1971-1973. Dave then enrolled at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska, graduating with a degree in public administration in 1977. During college Dave married his first wife, Laureen. They were divorced in 1977.
David married Elsie Hahn in 1978. After working various jobs in Nebraska and Iowa, Dave felt the call to enter ministry and attended Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He graduated with a Master’s of Divinity and was ordained in 1984 after an internship at Barneveld Lutheran Parish in Barneveld, Wisconsin. During their time in Dubuque, David and Elsie welcomed their first son, Jonathan, in 1981. Son Daniel was born in 1986.
During his career as a pastor, Dave served Kenmare Lutheran Parish (Kenmore, North Dakota 1984-1987), Reynolds Lutheran Parish (Reynolds, North Dakota 1987-1988), Trinity-Zoar Lutheran Parish (Revillo, South Dakota 1988-1992), Underwood Lutheran Church (Underwood, Iowa 1992-2001), Our Savior’s and St. John’s Lutheran Churches (Albert City, Iowa 2001-2008), Nazareth and St. John Lutheran Parish (Coulter, Iowa 2008-2014), Renbrandt Lutheran Parish (Rembrandt, Iowa 2014-2015) and Bethany Lutheran Church (long-term supply, Spencer, Iowa 2015-2016). David and Elsie returned to Stewartville in 2016.
David was preceded in death by his father, Roger.
He is survived by his wife Elsie and son, Jonathan (Kathie) of Stewartville; son Daniel (Rachel) of Newell, Iowa; and grandchildren Jacob, Jillian, Tristan and Deklan Bernhardt. Dave is also survived by his mother, Arlene of Sioux City, Iowa; brother, Doug (Cindy) of Monrovia, California; sister Annette (Bryan Alfredson) of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Per Dave’s wishes, no formal service will be held. An informal gathering with take place at a later date, with a private family inurnment in Okoboji, Iowa.
Memorials are suggested to Humane Society of Northwest Iowa in Milford, Iowa; Camp Companion in Rochester; or Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville.