Pete Bernardo ’67, ’72G, ’17G, a lifelong servant and ambassador for his country, community, and alma mater, died on May 14, 2021 at the age of 75. Pete is survived by his wife, JoAnne, and three sons.
Following a distinguished 20-year career in the military, Bernardo served in a variety of roles at JCU including Director of Alumni Relations (1988-1997), Director of Advancement Services (1998-2000), and Director of Planned Giving (2001-2007). Most recently, he was the Senior Director of Philanthropic Relations, but limiting Bernardo’s impact at John Carroll to his job titles would be a disservice to his constant devotion to the institution for more than 50 years.
In service to the University, the 2016 Alumni Medal recipient once said: “There are just things that have to be done and someone needs to do it. And whatever it is that you’re doing supports the Jesuit mission.”
Outside of his working experience, Bernardo was active in many areas of life for John Carroll University and Cleveland communities including:
- Staffing the chain crew at John Carroll football games.
- Serving as transportation coordinator for Freshman move-in day each August.
- Mentoring and advising many ROTC cadets on campus. He taught Military Science to the ROTC students when he returned from active service.
- Supporting community events including the Fatima Family Center, Project Que Hispanic outreach program and STEM Camp for Mathematics.
- Coordinating the University Heights Memorial Day Parade and picnic for more than 30 years.
- Serving on the University Heights City Council from 2010-2014.
- Teaching adult religious education and confirmation classes at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in South Euclid.
- Serving as a Pre Cana Minister to newly engaged couples preparing for the sacrament of Marriage in the Cleveland Diocese.
- Fatima Ropes Course Organizer
- Dressing up as Santa Claus for John Carroll’s annual “Breakfast with Santa” event for over 20 years.
- Pete earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, a Master of Science in Physics and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies.
Serving selflessly wasn’t something Bernardo did exclusively for the John Carroll and University Heights communities -- he did so for his country as well. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, Bernardo was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and three Purple Hearts for his heroic efforts in the line of duty for the U.S. Army.
In the Army, Bernardo helped plan, coordinate, and negotiate the configuration management, product assurance, and safety plans for a $164 million research and development test program designed to produce and test the free world’s only non-nuclear antiballistic missile system. He helped develop, plan, and maintain all U.S. war plans in the Atlantic Theater of Operations. He also planned logistics for the invasion of Granada.
At JCU, Bernardo’s work in alumni relations received seven awards from The Council for Advancement and Support of Education, The Conference of Jesuit Advancement Administrators, and University Heights. The retired lieutenant colonel helped raise $100 million in gifts for JCU’s most recent campaign, Forever Carroll, and $90 million in gifts for the previous campaign, the Greater Good. He created and managed JCU’s planned giving program, the Magis Legacy Society, which currently has 367 donors and more than $73 million under stewardship.
Visitation will be on Thursday, May 20th from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at Schulte, Mahon, and Murphy, 5252 Mayfield Rd, Lyndhurst, Ohio. The Funeral Mass will be on Friday, May 21st at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, 1545 South Green Road, South Euclid, Ohio. Interment at All Souls Cemetery followed by a private reception with family.