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Bernard "Bernie" C. Johns

September 14, 1931 ~ November 29, 2018 (age 87)

Bernard “Bernie” C. Johns, 87, Rothschild, died Thursday, November 29, 2018 at UW Hospital, Madison.

Bernie was born September 14, 1931 in Stanley to the late William and Martha (Duce) Johns and was proud to be a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. He graduated from Wausau High School and honorably served his country in the US Army from 1953-55.  He married Joann Drozd on November 3, 1956 and the couple welcomed four children to their family: Mary, Julie, Mike and David.  Bernie later married Virginia Prindiville on July 14, 1981 and remained devoted to her for the rest of his life.  Bernie was an amazing car salesman, selling 10,356 cars over the course of 30 years.  He earned a team signed 1967 Superbowl football from Vince Lombardi and was named one of the Top 100 Salesman in the country for his skill.  He initially worked for Beilke Buick and Pontiac from 1951-61, then Pirwitz from 1961-77 and Guinn and Nyygard from 1977-81 when he retired but then decided to return to full time work with Hoffers Glass from 1988-99.

Bernie was a very gregarious man who always enjoyed meeting new people and learning all about them.  He was also a jokester and was a dedicated friend and confidant to many. Bernie enthusiastically supported his children and grandchildren in all their activities.  He was also proud to be a strong conservative throughout his life.

Bernie was a member of the Optimist Club, Elks Club, American Legion Montgomery-Plant-Dudley Post 10, Wausau Ringnecks and Long Bass Lake Association.  He was also a faithful member of St. Therese parish for most of his life.  In his free time, Bernie enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, avidly supporting all Wisconsin sports teams, and spending time at his cottage in Harrison Hills on Bass Lake.  Bernie’s other passion was racing.  His love of racing started with Wisconsin Outboard Motor Association and from 1943-50 he was sponsored by Wayne Schoepke winning his last race in Fremont.  He then shifted to stockcar racing and was sponsored by John Dammor from 1951-57.  

Bernie is survived by his wife, Virginia; children, Mary (Tom) Sierakowski of Weston, Julie (Scott) Rucinski of Merrill, Mike Johns of Kronenwetter and David (Victoria) Johns of Merrill; grandchildren, Chad, Michael (Cassie), Tyler (Sarah) and Nicholas Sierakowski, Matthew, Jamie and Branden Johns, and Vincent and Isaac Johns; great-grandchildren, Nixon and Emma; mother of his children, Joann Johns; and extended family and friends.  He is preceded in death by his brother, Bruce Johns.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12:00 PM on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 at St. Therese Parish, Rothschild.  Fr. Louis Britto will officiate.  Visitation will be from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM on Monday, December 3rd at Helke Funeral Home, Wausau; resuming at 11:00 AM until the time of service on Tuesday at the church.  Entombment and military rites will be at Restlawn Memorial Park – Garden of Eternal Rest.  Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements; you may sign our family guestbook at

Memorials may be directed to the family for a future charitable donation.

A heartfelt word of appreciation goes to Dr. Stephen Nichols, Dr. Deb Mojumder, Dr. “Mike” Fraginkaksis and the doctors, nurses and staff of Aspirus Wausau Hospital and UW Hospital Madison for their compassionate care.  A special thank you also goes to Sherri Drozd, and Monica Howe for their assistance.

In his own words, “Thanks for talking to me”.  There will only be one Bernie.

Bernie's Memorial Folder
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