Of Providence Point, Scott Township, Pennsylvania, formerly of Squirrel Hill, died surrounded by his family on Thursday, June 18, 2020, of complications from a stroke.
Born in 1931 in Bielitz, formerly Austria, now Poland, to the late Victor and Margarete Bernt, he grew up in Salzburg, Austria. He was the devoted husband of Constance Smigel Bernt since 1957, loving father of Karin Colquitt (Cody) of Dallas, Eric Bernt (Laurel) of Los Angeles, and Stephen Bernt (Susanne) of Mendham, NJ, and the proud "Opa" of Katherine and Clayton Colquitt, Sebastian, Conner, Isabella, Christopher, Daniel, and Juliana Bernt. Love of family was first and foremost in his life. Having grown up an "only child," he delighted in the activities of his children. He liked to take his family on trips to Europe and fun vacation locations.
He came to the United States at the age of 22 with a degree in engineering from the Technical Research and Teaching Institute and a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Commerce in Vienna, Austria, to attend the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He worked in management for Chrysler Corp., the Whirlpool Corp., Thomas Organ Company, Electric Storage Battery Co., at the peak of his career was President of Rayovac Battery, and returned to Pittsburgh as CFO of National Steel Corp. He said the proudest achievement in business took place in retirement when he founded the Technology Transfer Office at Carnegie Mellon University. Jerry Cohon, long-term President of Carnegie Mellon University said, "He was one of the true Renaissance Men of our era and an example of the "American Dream."
A true believer in working for the community, he served on the Boards of Goodwill Industries, WQED, Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Schenley Road Association, and was one of the longest-serving members of the PIttsburgh Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees. As a student in Salzburg he played the double bass in the Mozarteum Orchestra. At the PSO he and his wife, Connie, who shared his love of music, founded "The Friends of PSO," bringing together performers and audience members.
His son, Eric, said that his father had articulated his basic philosophy in life in his listing in "Who's Who in America": "I believe the measure of one's true success lies in how well we are using our own potential, and how well we are serving others." Eric said, "My father's personal goal was to be productive and to help others flourish and succeed, such as family members and friends, the inventors who would see their ideas become used and loved by many, and people in all walks of life whose lives could become enriched by the enjoyment of music."
Funeral arrangements will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Development Dept., 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or Carnegie Mellon University, PO Box 371525, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-7525.
A memorial service is being planned for a later date to be held at Providence Point.
Funeral arrangements provided by Timothy K. Slater Funeral Services, Inc.
Condolences at www.timothykslater.com
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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Devopment Dept..
600 Penn Avenue, PIttsburgh PA 15222
Carrnegie Mellon University
PO Box 371525, Pittsburgh PA 15251-7525