Bruce Bernard Obituary (1936 – 2022) – Chelmsford, MA

loving husband,

Father, grandfather, friend

Former owner, Westford Li’l Peach

Bruce “Barney” Hartwell Bernard, of Chelmsford, died on November 1, 2022 at Life Care Center in Acton, aged 86. He was the beloved husband of Patricia (Elliott) Bernard.

Barney was born in Medford, MA on January 23, 1936, the son of the late Gladys (Anderson) and Hartwell Bernard. He lived his early years in Medford but primarily grew up in the Pinehurst section of Billerica on Chestnut Street.

In 1954 Barney married Margaret “Peggy” O’Brien, settling in Pinehurst before moving to Chelmsford in 1959, where they raised their four children. He later met Patricia Elliott and they were married in July 1981, residing together on Steadman Street in Chelmsford for fifty years.

With an intense early interest in work, Barney dropped out of high school and began working at Benny Molinari’s fish market on nearby Boston Road. This in turn sparked his interest in working for another store, Purity Foods, then located in a small storefront in Central Square, Chelmsford. Born with an innate sociability and tireless work ethic, Barney rose through the corporate ranks. Starting as a bagger, he went on to become one of the first store managers at Purity Sav-Mor, then at Purity Supreme, which became New England’s largest independent supermarket chain. Barney became the division manager of all baked goods purchased for markets, helped establish many new stores throughout New England, and woke up early every Sunday morning for decades to run one of chain inventory teams. After Purity was sold, he took over one of the Li’l Peach franchises in Westford and became a neighborhood presence there on Main Street.

Barney enjoyed the camaraderie found in public establishments, including the Band Box where he met Patricia, Boomers where he spent time with his daughter Cindy, and the Ninety Nine where he visited his son Bruce. Barney was an avid tennis player and displayed the spirit of a sporting gentleman. He was thrilled when the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004, and the Patriots were a source of joy for many years.

Barney also treasured the trips to his father’s hometown of Prince Edward Island, the “annual pilgrimages” with Patricia to Saratoga Springs, Baltimore and Toronto to watch the Red Sox in Alaska with his friends, and Moosehead Lake with family and friends. He kept deer as pets for two decades and enjoyed feeding the birds and a large flock of turkeys. He tackled his own gardening jobs, including blowing snow in New England’s famous drifts, well into his 80s.

He is survived by his children Lynn Spavento of Las Vegas, NV, Bruce Bernard of Lowell, Mehmed Ali and his wife Sivmouy of Montgomery, AL, and his daughter-in-law Sharon (Dubuque) Harless and her husband Bruce of Lyndeborough, NH. He also leaves five grandchildren – Amanda Harless and her husband Gabriel Belosevic, Nicholas Bernard, Rebecca Gavalas and her husband Jonathan, Evelyn Bernard and Brayden Kol. Barney will be missed by family members Sokhy Thim and Vicheth Kol. He was the father of the late Cindy Bernard and the brother of the late Milton Bernard and Charlotte Johansen.

Friends will be received at MORSE-BAYLISS Funeral Home, 122 Princeton Boulevard, Lowell, Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., followed by his funeral at 11:00 a.m. Burial in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Chelmsford. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make donations in Barney’s name to: Table of Plenty, PO Box 321, Chelmsford, MA 01824 ( Funeral Director, Frederick W. Healy. Please visit the Barney Life Tribute page at

Published by Lowell Sun on November 6, 2022.

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