Bernard Wilbur “Bernie” Carper died Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 at his home in Hermiston at age 84. He was born Feb. 11, 1932 in La Grande to Roy Wilbur and Eunice Jane (Courtney) Carper.
Bernie was raised in Promise, Ore., and moved to Wallowa during high school. He graduated from Wallowa High School in 1950. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1952 and served until his discharge in 1956.
On April 5, 1953 he married his high school sweetheart Kathryn Mae McKenzie at the home of the bride’s parents in Wallowa. Bernie, who was in the Air force and stationed in Chandler Ariz., came home for a few days for the wedding and then the newlyweds moved to Arizona.
After high school he worked for The Wallowa County Chieftain as a linotype operator, discovering that he really enjoyed the newspaper business as he continued to talk about it many years later. He carried his newspaper skills with him to work at the Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper while serving in the Air Force and stationed in Japan, and again with the Mesa Tribune while stationed in Arizona.
After the service, Bernie attended Eastern Oregon College in La Grande and then attended and graduated from Oregon State University School of Pharmacy in 1962. Bernie worked as a pharmacist for over 42 years, officially retiring in 1997. H also continued to work when needed for the next 11 years. His first job was in Salem, and then in 1963 he moved to Hermiston, where he was the owner/operator of Moore & Ripley Drug Store in for 22 years, 14 years partnered with his wife Kathy. The couple sold the business in 1986 to Payless Drug, where Bernie continued to work until his retirement. After his retirement he occasionally worked at Murray’s Drug Store in Heppner until 2008.
Bernie jokingly stated in an interview with The East Oregonian newspaper in 2008 that he chose pharmacy over journalism because journalism would have forced him to attend the University of Oregon, and the devoted OSU Beavers fan clearly stated: “No, I don’t want to go there.”
During his years as a businessman he was very active in his community and received many awards for personal and professional dedication to his community and career. He received The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce Business Man of the Year award in 1974, Retailer of the Year in 1984, 1969 Hermiston Jaycee’s Distinguished Service Award, and in 1979 he was named President of the Oregon Pharmacy Association. He received the Pharmacy Leadership Award for 1978-1979 from the National Association of Retail Druggists. In 1969 he received the AH Robbins Award for Outstanding Community Service in Pharmacy.
Bernie served as Chairman of the Hermiston City Planning Commission from 1975-1997. He was recognized by the city of Hermiston for providing 29 years to the planning commission. He was on the Budget Committee from 1966-1968, and the Planning Commission from 1971-1997.
Bernie was an elder and longtime member of the First Christian Church in Hermiston, a Lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge #138. He also was a member of the Kiwanis Club, where he served as president in 1967.
Bernie enjoyed hunting, fishing, trap shooting, RV camping, watching his children, nieces and nephews play sports, and he loved the OSU Beavers.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his son-in-law, Gary Lovell.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Kathryn of Hermiston; children Steve Carper of Moses Lake, Wash., Carolleen Lovell of Hermiston and Jeff Carper and his fiancee Warrine; great-granddaughter Kalissa Cambell of Hermiston; and brother Vernon Carper and his wife Fay of Lewiston.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26 at the First Christian Church, 775 W. Highland Ave. in Hermiston. Burial with military honors will follow at the Hermiston Cemetery.
Please submit online condolences at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Christian Church in Hermiston or the Masonic Lodge in Hermiston.