May 24, 2023 at 3:01 p.m.
David was born on March 15, 1953 in Sioux City, Iowa to Roger and Arlene (Thies) Bernhardt, the second of three children. Living briefly in Texas, Alabama, and California as a child, the family eventually settled in Moville, Iowa where Dave graduated from Woodbury Central High School in 1971. After high school, Dave enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving in Washington, DC as a legal specialist from 1971-1973. Dave then enrolled at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska, graduating with a degree in public administration in 1977. During college, Dave married his first wife Laureen. They were divorced in 1977.
David married Elsie Hahn in 1978. After working various jobs in Nebraska and Iowa, Dave felt the call to enter ministry and attended Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He graduated with a Master's of Divinity and was ordained in 1984 after an internship at Barneveld Lutheran Parish in Barneveld, Wisconsin. During their time in Dubuque, David and Elsie welcomed their first son Jonathan in 1981. Son Daniel was born in 1986.
During his career as pastor, Dave served Kenmare Lutheran Parish (Kenmare, North Dakota, 1984-1987), Reynolds Lutheran Parish (Reynolds, North Dakota, 1987-1988), Trinity-Zoar Lutheran Parish (Revillo, South Dakota, 1988-1992), Underwood Lutheran Church (Underwood, Iowa, 1992-2001), Our Savior's and St. John's Lutheran Churches (Albert City, Iowa, 2001-2008), Nazareth and St. John Lutheran Parish (Coulter, Iowa, 2008-2014), Rembrandt Lutheran Parish (Rembrandt, Iowa, 2014-2015), and Bethany Lutheran Church (long term supply, Spencer, Iowa, 2015-2016). David and Elsie retired to Stewartville in 2016.
Dave is preceded in death by his father Roger.
He is survived by wife, Elsie and son, Jonathan (Kathie) of Stewartville; son, Daniel (Rachel) of Newell, Iowa; and grandchildren, Jacob, Jillian, Tristan, and Deklan Bernhardt.. Dave is also survived by mother, Arlene of Sioux City, Iowa; brother, Doug (Cindy) of Monrovia, California; sister, Annette (Bryan Alfredson) of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Per Dave's wishes, no formal service will be held. An informal gathering will take place at a later date, with a private family inurnment in Okoboji, Iowa.
Memorials are suggested to Humane Society of Northwest Iowa in Milford, Iowa, Camp Companion in Rochester, or Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville.