Sally Joan Bernhardt

Birth Date: 
Friday, May 3, 1929
Date of Passing: 
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

WOOSTER - Sally J. Bernhardt, 90, passed away on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at LifeCare Hospice, Wooster.   She leaves her three children, Jon Bernhardt and wife Diana of Wooster, Kathryn Bernhardt and husband Philip Huang of Pacific Palisades, California, and Elizabeth Vartola and husband Anthony of Rio Rico, Arizona; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.  Her husband, James R. Bernhardt, preceded her in death in 1996, as did her brother, William Bethke, in 1988.

She was born in Wooster on May 3, 1929 to Elizabeth Lott Bethke and Roland M. Bethke. A graduate of Wooster High School (class of 1947) and the College of Wooster (class of 1950), she taught English at Waynedale High School in Apple Creek from the 1960s to the 1980s.

After retiring from teaching, Sally devoted her time and energy to numerous civic organizations in Wooster, for which she received, in 1998, the City of Wooster Woman of Achievement Award.  She was actively involved with Every Woman’s House (now part of OneEighty) since its very beginning, serving in numerous capacities, from playing with the children to editing communications to serving as President of the Board of Trustees.  She also was a member of the boards of the League of Women Voters of Wayne County (for which she served a term as President) and of Planned Parenthood, and was an enthusiastic member of the Traveler’s Club.  An avid reader herself, she was an active participant in the Association of American University Women’s annual used book sale as well as its literary book club.  Finally, as a board trustee of the Wayne County Historical Society, among other things, she rewrote and updated its by-laws, bringing them into the 21st century, and helped to curate its displays. For her contributions to the Historical Society, she received, in 2010, its George J. Schwartz Distinguished Service Award.  All of these activities and the friends she met through them greatly enriched her life in her later years.

For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, donations in Sally’s memory may be made to a charity of your choice.

To commemorate her life, the family will be hosting an Open House at Sally’s home at 2215 Friar Tuck Circle, Wooster, from 3:30-6:30 on Saturday, December 7.  All friends and neighbors are most welcome.

McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

Memorial Contributions: 

Charity of family's choice


To commemorate her life, the family will be hosting an Open House at Sally’s home at 2215 Friar Tuck Circle, Wooster, from 3:30-6:30 on Saturday, December 7.  All friends and neighbors are most welcome.


 Private family service


Sally and my mother taught together at Waynedale. They always enjoyed running into one another after that. A great lady. RIP.

Mrs. Bernhardt was my high school English teacher at Waynedale. It was because of her love of English that I also became an English teacher. She instilled in me a quiet confidence that followed me during my 35 year teaching career. She was an engaging,inspirational teacher who impacted us all in one way or another. She laid the solid foundation in English literature for me that followed me during my time as an AP teacher and speech & debate coach! SHE WAS A GEM!!

Mrs. Barnhardt was a wonderful teacher and mentor. She asked me every year for a little poem I had written which she wanted to enter into a contest. Finally, my senior year, I confessed it hadn't actually been "lost" - I knew it by heart. She entered the poem into the contest and it won first prize. I was honored by her belief in that little poem and remember her often. It's so wonderful to have such an inspiring teacher. Heaven is a little brighter now she is there and she is likely to continue to inspire those of us still on Earth. Prayers & peace to her family.

Sally was an amazing woman who had a major influence on this community...has a major influence on this community which will remain. Her commitment to Planned Parenthood, to 180, and to political candidates that had the same values for which she stood. She will be missed. I am sorry I will not be able to attend the gathering at her home, but my young grand children will be visiting. I assure you I will make a donation to 180 in her name. To all of you in the family, my heartfelt condolences on the loss of this wonderful woman.

Kathy and Beth, my condolences to you both. I'm not looking forward to that time that you have just experienced--losing your mom. It sounds like she "made her mark" in this world, as we all hope that we will. I hope you're both still playing your horns. Best wishes--Janet Oeh.etc. Mohr

On behalf of the Girl Scouts of Ohio's Heartland, we wish to express our deepest sympathies for the loss of your love one, Sally. She was a Girl Scout Alum, a volunteer and was a strong supporter; it is obvious that she dedicated much of her life to improving the lives of those around her.

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