Neil Raymond Berndt, age 91, passed away on December 31

Neil Raymond Berndt, age 91 of St. Joseph, passed away at home, surrounded by his family on December 31, 2017.   Neil was born Feb. 3, 1926 in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the son of Julius Emil Berndt, Jr. and Ruby Edna (Kolberg) Berndt.  On April 16, 1950, Neil married Louise Mae (Qually) Berndt, and they have celebrated 67 years of loving togetherness.

At age 17, during his senior year of high school, he enlisted in the US Navy Air Corp.  After service, he graduated from Iowa State University as a civil engineer.  He worked for three years for the New York Central Railroad in Jackson, Michigan, and then accepted the position of city engineer for the City of St. Joseph.  During this period, he obtained a business graduate degree from Michigan State University. He became a registered professional civil engineer and land surveyor in the state of Michigan, as well as president of the local chapter of Blossomland Professional Engineers. He was active in the local Jaycee Chapter and served as its President in 1954, followed by service at the state office level. He left his City of St. Joseph position in 1962, and helped found the John G. Yerington Concrete Company, as well as other construction and engineering enterprises throughout his career. He semi-retired in 1991.

He was a life member of the St. Joseph Masonic Lodge, Shriners Club, the St. Joseph Elks and Rotary Club. He served for a number of years as a director of the St. Joseph Savings and Loan, and also served on the City of St. Joseph Planning Commission for 35 years, with the latter years as chairman.  He was very proud of the fact that he was able to donate a parcel of land in Lions Park, dedicating it forever to public domain.

He was a member of the Zion Evangelical Church. He enjoyed fishing with his family, particularly in Canada to catch walleye and northern pike. He and Louise enjoyed traveling the world together.

He is survived by his wife, Louise Berndt; a son, Brian of Stevensville, and his two children Bradford (Suzanna) of Kalamazoo, and Alexandra (Spencer) of Minnesota; a daughter, Jillian (Rodney), and their son Matthew of Pennsylvania and daughter Meredith of Helsinki, Finland; and his nephews Scott, Mark and Dean Huff of California. He was preceded in death by his parents Julius Emil Berndt, Jr., and Ruby Edna Berndt, his sister Arlene Huff, and his daughter-in-law, Elfie Schults-Berndt.

Funeral services will be held at Starks and Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph, Friday, January 5, 2018 at 11:00 AM with Rev. Dr. Chris Noffke officiating. Friends may visit with the family from 5 to7 PM., Thursday, January 4, 2018, at the funeral home and Friday morning, from 10:00 AM until the time of service. A private burial will held at Riverview Cemetery in St. Joseph. In lieu of flowers as an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be given to the Parkinson Foundation.  Those wishing to sign the on-line guest book or leave a message of comfort for the family may do so at

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