Longtime Hyde Park resident and retired University of Chicago faculty member Dr. Bernard M. Bergmann III passed away on the morning of Friday, Nov. 5, after a long struggle with early-onset Parkinson’s disease.
Growing up in upstate New York, Bernie got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Syracuse University. It was in Syracuse where he met his late wife, Linda Shell. He followed Linda to Oberlin College, where he got a job as a lab assistant in the Psychology department. Moving with her to Chicago, they both earned doctoral degrees at the University of Chicago.
Bernie continued at the University of Chicago at the Sleep Lab, becoming an associate professor of biopsychology. A pioneer in using computer technology for scientific analysis and experimental design, Bernie helped countless students design experiments and became an indispensable part of the operations of the laboratory. Rising to the associate director of the lab, he contributed to over a hundred articles on the interactions between sleep and genetics, hormones, neurotransmitters, aging and the environment.
Bernie loved puzzles and card games. He always put his full self into helping others solve their problems. His dry humor and wry looks kept those around him smiling.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 43 and retired due to the illness in 2000. He joined the community of Montgomery Place, where he has been an active resident since 2008. He is predeceased by Linda who passed away in 2013, as well as by his brother Steve and his sister Nancy. He is survived by his son, Bernie IV of Chicago, and his sister Phyllis of Castorland, NY.
Family and friends will celebrate his life at a memorial service at Montgomery Place on Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, consider donating to the National Center for Science Education or a science charity of your choice.