Commander, USN Retired We celebrate our most beloved American Hero, Bernie Middleton, with joy, with thanks and with hearts full of love, respect, wonder and awe.
Bernie passed on to his eternal voyage while in the arms and in the hearts of family on December 27th, after a holiday season filled with celebration.
He lived for his family and lived with vigor, curiosity, humor and grace.
2012 was a blessed and magical journey of his life beginning with the celebration of his 59th wedding anniversary to the greatest love of his life Dorothy Middleton who he met while stationed in Oslo, Norway; his 95th birthday that included a military commendation for his brave dedication and service in the United States Navy; travel that allowed him to see and celebrate all of his children (3), grand- children (6) and great-grandchildren (6); a stay at the American Lake Blind Rehabilitation Center to build new skills in using his computer; learning to golf; attendance at the Naval Ball where as the oldest Sailor and officer he was honored to cut the celebration cake; being interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation to share his experience in WWII as a seaman aboard the USS Wichita that participated in the PQ17 armada (airing late in 2013) and finally, a last epic holiday together.
Bernard Asa Middleton was born near Herndon, VA in 1917, and spent his early years in Baltimore, MA.
In 1934 Bernie reported for duty in the U.S. Navy as an Apprentice Seaman, was in the first class of Navy “radar technicians” (a new technology for the fleet), and after 22 exemplary years Lt.
Commander Middleton retired from the Navy.
He joined Northrup Aircraft Company leading key projects during the years and at the heart of America’s ‘space race’, retiring in July, 1972.
Bernie went back to school earning his Bachelor’s and Master of Business Administration degree at Eastern Washington University at 61 years old.
He joined the faculty there as a Visiting Instructor in Management, then as the Assistant to the Dean of the School of Business and lastly as Director of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
He retired in 1987.
Bernie pursued his passion for documenting the genealogy of the Middleton and Thompson families, began writing a historical novel, and studied mitochondrial DNA as a means for documenting family history.
He was a scholar whose thirst for knowledge knew no bounds.
His passion and dedication to his beloved America was truly impressive to see.
His dearest friend, Dr. Hugh Hunter, called him “a true intellect”.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Middleton; his brother, Edward Middleton Jr.; three children and their spouses, Jeff (Debbie), Sue (Greg), and Nancy (Richard); six grandchildren, Jesse, Cheyanne, Darren, Andrew, Dan and Brittany, and six great- grandchildren.
He loved and treasured the spouses of each of his children and grandchildren as his own.
To his family, he is one of the greatest members of the Greatest Generation, his memories and stories are forever etched in our hearts.
With love and respect, our family holds Bernie as a treasure in our hearts and sends him onward with prayers for ‘Fair Winds and Following Seas’.
A celebration of Bernie’s life will be held on January 26, at The Spokane Club Library room, from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
He will be interred at the Washington State Veteran’s Cemetery.