Bernard was born in Storm Lake, and studied at Iowa State University, then moved to San Jose, Calif. in the 1950's with his wife Kathleen and completed his studies in Engineering at San Jose State University. Bernard had been stationed in Korea with the U.S. Army's occupational force previous to the war. Bernard was a Research Engineer and received three patents for developments he made in refractories working for Kaiser Aluminum and Refractories in Pleasanton, Calif. In the 1960s Bernard volunteered some of his time working for NASA where he helped develop an early blast furnace wind tunnel to test atmospheric re-entry for space craft. Bernard was an avid white water river rafter and enjoyed the outdoors. He was consistently a volunteer with his church and St. Vincent de Paul.