If you walked the beach and noticed the pristine nature of its appearance or the grounds of the Residents Beach parking and picnicking area you probably would have run into the handsome Cuban American. If you attended events, such as the Christmas Island Tree Lighting, the Holiday Street parade or the popular Marco Island Seafood Festival, you might have caught a glimpse of him there. He could always be counted upon to carry out duties in crowd and traffic control for the Marco Police Foundation as they assisted local law enforcement keeping attendees safe. Bernardo was one of the many dedicated volunteers who helped to make Marco Island the wonderful place it is today.Most of all, Bernardo understood the valuable gift of freedom and liberty, which he obtained after fleeing the tyranny of a dictatorship only 90 miles from Florida when he escaped Fidel Castro’s Cuba in the early ‘60s. Before he left, he had attended Havana University. Bernardo made a life for himself in his adopted home, the United States. He married his beautiful wife Eleanor 42 years ago and brought up his family. Through dedication and hard work, he rose to a top-level position within a major corporate giant in New York City where he worked for over 33 years.
After retiring from the Phillip Van Heusen Corporation in 1998, Bernardo moved into the Marco Island home he had built for Eleanor and daughter Lenore. Bernardo also had two other daughters and four grandchildren, whom he adored. He had four sisters, two of which predeceased him, as did his parents.
It didn’t take long for Bernardo to look for things to keep him busy after leaving the fast paced corporate life of metro New York. One of the natural attractions for him involved the island’s pristine beaches. He volunteered with the Marco Island Civic Association before being elected to its board of directors. He served as a member of the board and was elected as both treasurer and president during the last 14 years. MICA oversees the Marco Island Residents Beach, amongst other responsibilities passed on to it by the island’s developers, Deltona Corporation.
“No one took those responsibilities more seriously than Bernardo,” said Ruth McCann, MICA’s executive director. “It was wonderful to work with such a dedicated and focused individual and to have him as my dear friend,” she continued.
Shortly after the Marco Island Police Department was formed, the Marco Police Foundation was created to assist officers in their time of need. Bernardo was quick to assist in any manner he could in the early days after its formation in 2003, and was a member of the board of directors for that organization.
“His appreciation of the department, its personnel and our mission to assist its members was evident from the outset,” said Jack Patterson, one of the founding directors of the Marco Police Foundation.
Bezos could always be seen moving quickly around the island on his motor scooter, wearing a shiny helmet and with a tennis racket strapped to his back. In this fashion he would make his way between matches at the Marco YMCA, to checking on the beach he so loved, to a meeting of the Police Foundation’s Board, or to many of his other interests around the island.
“He was one of those special people that make this such a great country and Marco Island the wonderful place it is today,” said Dick Adams the president of the Marco Police Foundation.
Adams was seated with many of Bezos’ friends recently as they would all share some of their many stories regarding their comrade, saddened by the passing of their friend but thankful for his presence in their lives and his contribution to the island they all love today.