Bernard P. Wenzl passed away after a short illness Wednesday, December 18, 2013, at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, with his family by his side. He was 76. Bernard was born on July 1, 1937 to Eugene and Margaret Wenzl, of Valley Falls, Kansas.
After being raised in St. Mary's, Kansas, he married Alice Pearl on July 1, 1961. Shortly after the birth of their first child, they moved to China Lake, Ca., and soon after to the adjoining town of Ridgecrest, where Bernard started his 35 years at the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake. Early in his career, he pursued his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1968. He regularly attended St. Ann Church.
Bernard had a long and accomplished career at China Lake. Early technical work started in the Missile Engineering Branch, where he developed digital control systems, such as digital signal generators, digital weapon controls and gun systems. Bernard worked on target location and identification for the Target Acquisition and Replay System and Target Identification and Acquisition System. He also worked on the Surface Weapon Fire Control Program, Lance and Agile Missile programs, the digital hydraulic aero valve, the 20mm air burst round, and the agile missile tracker. He authored and co-authored many publications during his career, and received a patent for the digital signal generator using digital differential analyzer techniques. As a guidance director for the Systems Development Department he presented data in the form of in-depth technical briefs to the highest levels in the Navy. Bernard was selected as a NAWCWPNS Fellow in 1991, and received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1996.
In his time off, he worked on his HeathKit projects, and could re-engineer and fix anything. The soldering iron was always hot, and much to Mom's dismay, her muffin tins always had electronic components in them! After retirement in 1998, and the passing of Alice in 2000, he continued to live with and wonderfully support his youngest daughter Marissa. Bernard involved himself with his grandchildren, of whom he was fiercely proud. During this last year he resided at High Desert Haven, which he enjoyed immensely; he made new friends, and reconnected with old ones.
Bernard is preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, and one brother; wife Alice, and infant daughter, Julia. He is survived by his brother John Wenzl of Salt Lake City, Utah; sister Mary Homan of St. Marys, Kansas; daughters Angela Wenzl-Blume (Thom) of Orland, Ca., Theresa Koch (Ken), Kristina Cook (T. Dean), and Marissa Wenzl, all of Ridgecrest; grandchildren Katherine Koch, Amanda Cook, Julie Koch and Lindsay Cook, all of Ridgecrest. Dad always instilled in his kids and grandkids to do their best and be their best — if something is worth doing, do it right!
A funeral mass will be held Monday December 30, 2013 at 10:00 at St. Ann Catholic Church, 446 W. Church Ave., in Ridgecrest, followed by a reception at the Kevin Cleary Parish Hall. A private burial will follow at Desert Memorial Park.
Page 2 of 2 - The family would like to extend a special thank you for the excellent care Dad received from Iresha Goonesinghe, MD, and to High Desert Haven for their support and care of Dad during this last year.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Ann School Angel Fund, 446 W. Church Ave., Ridgecrest, Ca. 93555.
”We will miss you Papa.”