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Joseph M. Bernstein

Obituary for Joseph M. Bernstein

January 15, 2020
San Antonio, Texas


Joseph Bernstein, a retired engineer in San Antonio, Texas, died on January 15, 2020 at the age of 92.
Joseph (Joe) is survived by four of his children, Kenneth Bernstein (Barbara) of Dallas, Texas; Susan Charboneau (Tony, deceased) of San Antonio, Texas; Nancy Jackson (Jim) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Wendy O'Donnell (Hogan) of Cedar Park, Texas. Joseph was preceded in death by Sandra Bernstein, his wife of 61 years, his daughter Andrea, and his sister Lillian. Joseph is also survived by five grandchildren, Rachel Austin Bernstein, Noah Bernstein, Max Charboneau, Molly Charboneau, and Cosi Jackson and by four great grand-children, Trent, Lily, Asher and Sophia.

Joe was born in Chicago, Illinois to Samuel and Grace Bernstein in 1927, where he was known by his middle name, Marvin. He grew up in Sterling and Rock Island, Illinois. He dropped out of high school to enlist in the US Navy in World War II, where he served on a destroyer escort and a destroyer in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He was involved in the invasion of Okinawa and later served in the Occupation forces in Japan, before being discharged in 1946. This was also when he decided to drop Marvin and be known as Joseph. To this day, he is known as Marvin to part of his family and Joseph to everyone else. After completing his GED, he was accepted to Wright Junior College in Chicago, Illinois and then the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in their undergraduate program for Selective Service personnel. He majored in Physics and started work in aerospace engineering at Bendix in South Bend, Indiana.

It was at the University of Illinois where he met the love of his life, Sandy, who he married in 1955. His career led him to work in electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering roles throughout the Midwest and in Germany. Where there were opportunities to be involved in the community, he did, including with the foreign student program at Illinois and helping to develop a portable medical device at Chicago Children's Hospital. He had seven patents covering various telecom devices while working at Automatic Electric (a part of GT&E) in Chicago. He traveled widely for business. He ended his career overseeing the satellite network at USAA, in San Antonio, Texas. He was a jack of all trades and able to do almost any engineering job.

Joe had many hobbies, usually lasting four to five years each. He collected and became an expert in antique scales, built furniture using antique tools, grew ferns in a greenhouse, gardened, square danced, played bridge, and built computers. Even late in retirement, he was building and programming Lego robots, wood airplanes, and talking about astrophysics. His greatest skill, however, was being able to disappear in the house. And if you ever wanted to start an argument, you could tell Joe you admired Thomas Edison more than Nikola Tesla.

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