Bernard ‘Bernie’ J. Kiefer

May 23, 1949 — March 20, 2020

Bernard ‘Bernie’ J. Kiefer

Bernard “Bernie” J. Kiefer, age 70, passed away on Friday, March 20, 2020, at the Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay. He was born on May 23, 1949, in Sheboygan to Rudolf and Lieselotte (nee Wustmann) Kiefer.

He married Helen M. (nee Lemke) on May 25, 1974. Bernie graduated from Cedarburg High School in 1967. He was a member of the EAA when it was in Hales Corners and remained a member until it moved to Oshkosh in 1969. Bernie attended UW-Milwaukee and graduated in 1971, attaining a B.A. in history and minor in business. He was a proud member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Upon graduation, with no teaching jobs available in his field, he worked as a salesman at a car dealership. Utilizing his minor in business he moved on to the Schultz Brothers dime store chain as a store manager. Within a five-state radius, he opened new stores for the chain and was based out of the West Bend store. Bernie met the love of his life, Helen, at a little eatery/ice cream shop across the street called Parkette. They were married on May 2‘, 1974, at Saint Mary’s Immaculate Conception Parish in Barton. Not wanting to be transferred every couple of years he applied at the West Bend Company, who was looking for a temporary store manager. Thus began a 30-year career as manager of the West Bend Company outlet store, where many life long friendships were made.

He was very active in the Scouting program, serving eight years as the Cub Scoutmaster of Pack 3789. He did an additional six years as a unit commission for the Boy Scouts Bay Lakes Council of Washington County He was proud to have earned “The Order of the Arrow,” the National Honor Society of the BSA.

Bernie and Helen were very involved with the Washington County Historical Society with the intent of preserving artifacts from the West Bend Co. archives and company store museum.

Bernie loved working on cars. He was a mentor to many young men and enjoyed working with them. Any year, make, or model was OK with him, but Chevys were his vehicle of choice. He, Helen and son Rick restored a 1970 Chevelle which was his pride and joy, his “BABY.” The grandkids looked forward to grandpa picking them up from school in the “Green Machine.” His daughter, Kris, loved to drive the Chevelle and cart him around after his eye surgery. He was a member of the Kettle Moraine Klassic Kar Klub (4-KKKK) for many years and was instrumental in setting up the annual car show for them at the West Bend Moose Lodge.

Bernie became a member of the West Bend Moose Lodge 1398 in 1993. He held the position of governor of the West Bend lodge for several terms. He was treasurer for District 3 as well as for the Moose Legion. He attained the rank of Fellow and exemplified the true meaning of what a moose should be. Every December, Bernie and Helen organize a bus trip to the tree lighting at Mooseheart in Illinois. Their family enjoys starting the Christmas season with the kids at Mooseheart. As a longtime Moose member many beautiful friendships have been formed. Their strength and love for Bernie and his family have helped them thru some difficult times.

As a history major, he loved to read anything about World War 2, firearms and had a special place in his heart for John Wayne movies and memorabilia.

Weekends were spent at the lake home up north, aka “Weekend at Bernie’s.” Many a child got quite an education around his infamous campfires. His favorite spot at their Florida home was sitting in the swing on the deck overlooking the pond. He loved his birds and watching for “Herman” the gator. He loved to sled in the winter, fishing in the summer, and was a mentor to not only his children and grandchildren but to many others that affectionately called him “Dad,” “Grandpa” and “Uncle.”

A huge hug and thank-you to family, friends and our extended Moose family for the kind words, thoughts and prayers that have gotten the family through some very difficult weeks.

The world has lost a truly wonderful, loving husband, dad, grandpa and the best friend you could ever ask for. Rest in peace, Bernie, with the Lord knowing what a legacy you have left behind.

Bernie is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Helen M. (nee Lemke); son Richard “Rick,” wife, Kim; daughter Kristine “Kris,” husband Tom Costa; grandchildren: Kenneth and Annmarie Costa; Zachary, Hailey and Bridget Kiefer. He is further survived by brothers-in-law Jerry (Terri) Lemke, Tom (Cheryl) Lemke; sisters-in-Law, Kathy (Dale) Raether, Ruth (Keith) Luft, Judy (Bruce) Survis and Karen Fay and many nieces and nephews. He is further survived by other relatives and friends.

Bernie was preceded in death by his parents, Rudolf and Lieselotte, and his father- and mother-in-law, Kenneth and Adeline Lemke.

Due to CDC restrictions, a private family graveside service at Washington County Memorial Park along with all the normal amenities was not possible at this time. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Memorials are appreciated to Mooseheart (or) Moosehaven.

The family extends heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the medical staff at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay. A special thank-you to Dr. Darkhabani, Dr. Jared Hocking and nurses Leah, April, Katie and Hope for their extreme compassion and wonderful care of Bernie during a very difficult time. A thank-you to the hotel staff at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay for all their help and concern.

The Phillip Funeral Home of West Bend is assisting the family. For more information, call 262-338-2050 or visit