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Produce and floral veteran Douglas Bernard dies at 69

Dale (Doug) Bernard, a produce and floral industry veteran who was known for his work in importing and distributing fresh chili peppers in the United States and Canada, died Oct. 24 in Miami. He was 69.

Starting in 1968, Mr. Bernard became active in a business venture in El Salvador, Pavos S.A., which produced and marketed frozen turkeys throughout the Central American market. He remained an active part of this business through the end of his life.

“During his residencDoug-Bernard-Head-ShotDale (Doug) Bernarde in El Salvador, Dad was active in setting up the American Chamber of Commerce in El Salvador,” his son, Rod Bernard, who now serves as director of quality and food safety for Southern Specialties in Pompano Beach, FL, told The Produce News. “He also served as president of the American Society, an organization in El Salvador that organized Americans living in the country, and it organized charitable events. He was on that board for over six years. He also served on the board of the American School, a school in El Salvador that prepared American children living there for education in the U.S. He was active with the U.S. embassy in El Salvador by serving on the security commission for U.S. citizens living in the country.”

Mr. Bernard served in the Peace Corps in Brazil from 1962 to 1964. This is where he met and married Janete do Valle Rodriques of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1964.

“He traveled extensively throughout Central America while living with our family in El Salvador from 1969 to 1980,” said Mr. Bernard. “During the country’s civil war, he moved our family from El Salvador and traveled between Florida and El Salvador from 1980 to 1986.”

From 1987 to 1991, Mr. Bernard worked for a company that imported fresh-cut flowers from Mexico and South America. In 1990 he moved to Miami, and in 1992 he was employed by an airline that serviced the Caribbean Islands to develop the imports of fresh produce from the region.

From 1995 until his death, he was president of Tropical Commodities, a company that imports and distributes fresh chili peppers throughout the United States and Canada.

Doug Bernard was born April 3, 1943, in Wilmington, OH, to Donald Dale Bernard and Martha Ann Bernard. Mr. Bernard was the oldest of four children. He is survived by his wife, Janete Valle Do Rodrigues Bernard; three sisters, Sharon Oliver, Shirley Haeuptle and Barbara Loudenslager; and three sons, Rod, Bryan and Dennis. He is also survived by five grandchildren; Christian, Trey, Tyler, Ana and Lola.

Mr. Bernard said his father graduated from New Vienna High School in 1961, where he was very active with 4-H projects and Future Farmers of America.

“Dad was awarded the Star Poultry Farmers Award for the state of Ohio in 1961,” said Mr. Bernard. “In 1967 he received an undergraduate degree from Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio. He then acquired a graduate degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, AZ, in 1968.”

At the age of 57 Mr. Bernard discovered his life’s great hobby, competitive go-kart racing. He raced throughout the United States, winning several championships as one of the oldest active competitors

“Dad had a grand passion for the sport of open wheel racing,” said Mr. Bernard. “He attended many races over the last years of his life, and he built lasting relationships. While racing, he developed a close friendship with a young Brazilian professional race car driver and enjoyed supporting him and sharing in his friend’s many victories as he moved up to the highest level of open wheel racing.”

Memorial services were held Nov. 3 at Van Orsdel Funeral Chapel in Kendall, FL.

A second memorial was to be held at the Fairview Friends Meeting House in Fairfield, OH, on Saturday, Nov. 10.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to be directed to the Clinton County 4-H Foundation in Wilmington, the Quaker Knoll Camp, also in Wilmington, or the Fairview Friends Meeting in New Vienna, OH.