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Fred Bernet, 91, leaves legacy of community service

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Fred Bernet passed away Monday, Feb. 10. He is pictured here with his wife of more than 56 years, Mary Ellen Bernet. Fred Bernet, a beloved and integral member of the Scappoose community, died Monday, Feb. 10, at 91 years old.

Bernet lived in Scappoose for more than 60 years. He served on many of Columbia County’s boards and had been a member of the county’s numerous clubs.

Last year, Bernet and his wife, Mary Ellen Bernet, were honored at the Scappoose Boosters’ annual Pow Wow as Grand Marshalls of the event’s parade. But Fred Bernet’s commitment to serving his city goes back much further.

“He was involved in the city from early on, from when he was in high school in the ‘40s, all the way through to raising his kids and grandkids,” said Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge. “He was an integral part of the community. It was sad to see him pass away with everything he’s done for this community.”

Fred Bernet was born in Tillamook on Dec. 26 in 1922. His father was a farmer and lived throughout Oregon and Washington, eventually moving to Sauvie Island in 1938. The Bernet family finally landed in Scappoose in 1948, where Fred Bernet’s father purchased a farm.

Fred Bernet graduated from Scappoose High School in 1941. During high school, Fred Bernet was elected as the school’s associated student body president, Future Farmers of America president and was awarded the FFA American Farmer Degree in Kansas City, Mo., for the state of Oregon. He also played football and basketball.

Fred Bernet met Mary Ellen while passing through Grants Pass on a road trip in 1952. The two married in 1957 and later had two children — Kenneth Bernet, born 1958, and Lorita Bernet, born 1966.

Fred Bernet and Mary Ellen also have two grandchildren, Steve Bernet and Gary Bernet.

Gary Bernet, who now runs Bernet Farms, said his grandfather taught him all he knows about the trade and was a “wealth of knowledge.”

“He taught me everything there is; the equipment, how to do stuff, when to do stuff ... he was always one of the most unselfish people I’ve ever met. He’d bend over backward to do anything for damn near anybody,” Gary Bernet said.

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