A poem for Papa

Posted June 29th, 2010 in General by neil

I received this email from my sister a few weeks ago, and I’ve been meaning to post it here. Such a great poem…. thanks Steph!

Hey Neil,

What I have attached is from a friend… she sent me this poem that really touched my heart.  This poem helped  when her mom passed away at 57 years old and I thought it might be OK to put on Papa’s memorial site.

With lots of love always,



When I am gone, release me. Let me go,
I have so many things to see and do. Continue Reading »

Father’s Day, Without

Posted June 20th, 2010 in Memories of Horst by neil

There’s not an hour that goes by without a thought of him. My saddest times are in the morning mostly, when I am in the shower and waking up. My mind is relatively clear after several hours of sleep, for the most part at least; still early enough to not yet be assaulted by the worries and stress of my conscious life. Random memories of Papa usually trigger it, but this week has been tough for me especially. Last weekend marked one month without him, and this weekend is Father’s Day. He’s been in my thoughts even more so. It will be a tough day; as I’m sure it will be for my siblings, and my Mutti.

Sleep is the only time I don’t think of him, and then it’s only dreams.

For this Father’s Day, I want to put some recent thoughts to text… to be cataloged forever. I’ve been thinking about these things for weeks, and now I want to write them down. This is what I want to do for him, for his memory.

Continue Reading »

A comment from Christopher

Posted June 18th, 2010 in Memories of Horst by neil

Although this was a comment on a previous post, I though that it was so awesome that it deserves to be it’s own post.

I had the great fortune of working for Horst for many years while at Lightolier.  Horst was a wonderful leader and a great mentor.  He possessed an extraordinary ability to see the good in people and to gently guide them to be the best they could be.  He was very instrumental in my career development.  He always provided exceptional insights and personal experience.  Although it has been years since I have reported to him, and I am now with another company, there are not many days when I do not say to myself “What would Horst have done”.  He was an inspirational man of a magnitude that is rarely seen today.  I will miss Horst greatly, but will often think of him with the highest of regard.  I wish you the family and friends the strength to carry on as Horst would have wanted. I am just grateful for having had met him, worked with him, and have had the pleasure of calling him a friend.

Abschied mein Freund, bis wir uns wieder treffen!
(Translation: Farewell my friend until we meet again)

Christopher J. Lajoie

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A comment from Scott

Posted June 16th, 2010 in Memories of Horst by neil

Here’s another comment from a previous post that I wanted to share with everyone.

I didn’t know Horst as deeply as many of the people that I still work with at Lightolier did, but I did have the pleasure of knowing him and working on a few projects under his guidance. He always struck me as a pleasant, soft-spoken, gentleman. Horst had a certain way of guiding you towards the right path without neccesarily pointing the way…it’s difficult to describe, but I suppose anyone who knows him likely understands. He was definitely one of those rare people that command your immediate respect, because as modest as he was, you just kinda knew that this guy was brilliant. He also had a great sense of humor. So I really enjoyed the times I spent in his company, even though it was all around work. I was a bit sad to hear that he was going to retire several years ago, but at the same time very happy for him. We chatted a bit with each other briefly a few times since he retired, and that was pretty much the extent of my relationship with Horst.

Well, of course we were all shocked and saddened by the seemingly sudden loss of him. Unfortunately, I never realized the depth and breadth of Horst’s talents and humanity until I had the opportunity (another of Horst’s favorite words) to browse through this web page and explore some of the links to Flickr, and see his photos, and realize how many lives he touched in a wonderfully positive way.

Horst is the kind of guy you didn’t have to know too well in order to shed a tear over his loss. By all accounts, he was a good man and will be missed by many…myself included.

Scott Dupre

Scott, your words mean so much to the family. Thank you very much for sharing with everyone.

A message from Tom

Posted June 15th, 2010 in Memories of Horst by neil

I find it so amazing that friends of my dad take the time and share with us what it meant to them to know him. This here is one from Tom, who worked with him when I was just a baby.

I had the pleasure of not only working with Horst while with Lightolier but many years earlier when we both worked together at Gotham Lighting back in the 70’s.  In particular, I can remenmber the day that he told me that your family was moving to Australia. When I asked him how he was ever able to convince your mother to make such a drastic relocation move, he told me that it wasn’t him but rather, your mom who was the driving force behind this decision. We kind of chuckled over this fact. With Australia being at that time more of a frontiers land, indicative of the Old West in the USA, I wished him and the rest of your family God Speed in this new endeavor. Once there, through Dan Schisler, we got periodic updates on how you were all doing. That experience sounded like REAL FUN and I am sure left lasting memories on the entire Bernhart clan.

Your dad was a very special person and will surely be missed. May God Bless you and your family and truly, your dad made a difference and touched the lives of many peoples.

Well, Tom… our time in Australia had very lasting memories with all of us. I will be posting many photos of our good times down under, as soon as I get some scanned in. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of him.

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Horst and boys with pipes

Posted June 14th, 2010 in Photos of Horst by neil

About 4 years ago, I get an email from my dad one morning, with this photo attached. I’m really unsure why he sent it, but it put a huge smile on my face, and it still does. I’m not sure how many laws this would break in the U.S., but in Australia it was totally fine to let your kids walk around with pipes.

That’s me on the left, my dad, and my brothers Axel and Derek. I would guess that this is around ’75 or ’76 since we lived in Australia until I was 7. For some reason, I must have thought that using a pipe means you are grumpy… because I’m putting on quite the sour-puss face!

A message from Bob

Posted June 13th, 2010 in Memories of Horst by neil

Here is another message from an old work friend

Horst was a very special person. I had the privilege of working with Horst for several years. He was the epitome of professional, always……………..
He was also the happiest man on earth. He always had a warm smile and a friendly greeting for everyone. He was a bright spot in a lot of peoples lives which is also a reflection of his family

His light truly shined bright. I hope to see him again in eternity………….
Love, His friend Bob Nursall

You are the man!

Posted June 10th, 2010 in Photos of Horst by neil

From the Christmas 2009 Photobooth series (an ongoing process)

When I had the gear set up for the photobooth shots, I wanted to try getting a few shots of myself that I could put together and have two of me in one shot. When the camera is on a tripod this can be easily done with multiple shots of the same scene in Photoshop.

Anyway, my dad saw me doing this and said “Oh, I want to try that!” I gave him the remote trigger for the camera, left the room and let him loose. Continue Reading »

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A message from Susan in Taiwan

Posted June 9th, 2010 in Memories of Horst by neil

I received a handful of messages from some friends he’d made over the years at work. It is so awesome to know that there are people who knew him even before I was born that still think of him, and took the time to send me messages or comment on this site. I want to post them all here and share them for everyone to see. Also, there were some comments on this previous post from some coworkers… please go read them.

This first one is all the way from Taiwan, from a co-worker that had kept in touch with him for years after they worked together. I remember my dad talking about her, and I also remember that she would send Christmas gifts to my daughter and I’d always thought that was so sweet for someone to do that.

Dear Neil,

No words can express the deep sorrow I felt when I heard of the loss of your father. I am Susan Wu, a friend of the Bernhart family in Taiwan. Rose might still remember me. I worked with Horst when he was with Lightolier, which was the most wonderful time of my career life. He acted as a father and a teacher to me that I couldn’t ever find a special person like him in the world. I quit the job for many years, but we still kept sharing with each other whatever happened in our life & families through e-mail. And, that is why I know the story about your family. Continue Reading »

Christmas 2009 Photobooth

Posted June 4th, 2010 in Photos of Horst by neil

A strip of photos from the 2009 Christmas Photobooth series. I still have to get all the rest of the photos processed, but these I wanted to do first.

In 2008, I started a tradition of setting up a make-shift photobooth during Christmas time. It would be set up at my in-laws festivities, as well as at my parents home. The purposed was to capture photos of everyone that was there at the time. Sort of a twist on the group photo for the holidays.

I’ve just now been able to go through some of the shots from 2009, and I’ve only processed just a handful of them … the ones that have my dad in them.