Bernard Earl Ware, 97, a life-long resident of Bear Lake, Michigan, died peacefully on June 28, 2020 with his family by his side at the family farm in Pleasanton Township. Bernard was born on May 2, 1923 to the late Mary (Fauble) and Burt Ware. A life-long farmer and grand storyteller, his earliest memories were delivering Fauble Farm dairy products with his grandfather, John Fauble, who nicknamed him “Bud”, to the summer residents of Portage Point, harvesting ice from Bear Lake to be delivered for refrigeration, and growing a record strawberry crop in 1931 that allowed his family to pay off their mortgage and purchase a new Model A Ford truck. In order to attend high school, he moved in with his older brother, Arthur, and subsequently graduated from Bear Lake High School in 1940; this experience greatly shaped his passion and support for education. During the early 1940s, Bud worked on a turkey farm in Benzie County to provide food for soldiers during World War II. He served in the United States Army from 1945 to 1949 rising to the rank of Technical Sergeant and worked on the reconstruction of Germany. There, he met and fell in love with Irma Kochendoerfer; they married in 1949.
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Upon returning from the service, they purchased the current farm in Pleasanton Township in 1950 and raised their family of six children. As a devoted father, Bud served as President of the Bear Lake School Board and encouraged each of his children to grow in their own unique way. While building the farm with his family, he worked at Martin Marrietta, retiring after 23 years. At this time, he proudly devoted his effort to raising asparagus, strawberries, and cucumbers. Bud or “Opa” (as he was known by many) loved his family and enjoyed visiting with old and new friends (both local and across the country). He was proud to be a “Winter Texan” and spent nearly 30 winters in Brownsville, Texas.
Bud was passionate about fishing, playing cards (at the Little River Casino or with friends), and he loved to dance to the Pennsylvania Polka, Tennessee Waltz, and the Texas Two-Step. He traveled to Europe many times and he drove to Alaska with his late wife, Irma. As Irma’s health declined as a result of Parkinson’s Disease, Bud became her care giver. After his oldest son, Bernie and his wife, Sandee, converted Ware Farm from conventional to organic farming, Bud was always eager to lend a hand at the farm by delivering strawberries to Traverse City or driving his tractor tilling ground to plant cover crops well into his 90s. Whether farming or working at Martin Marietta, Bud led by example (strong work ethic), had a knack for problem solving, and was an eternal optimisttraits that represent “The Greatest Generation”.
Every summer, Bud enjoyed the Ware-Fauble family reunion, attended Bear Lake High School reunions, and was an active member of the Bear Lake United Methodist Church. In 2019, he was honored to be the co-Grand Marshall of the Bear Lake Days Parade.
Over the past several years, Bernard enjoyed the companionship of Maria Zuschlag with whom he traveled to Mackinac Island, Hawaii, Oregon, and California. The hospitality of the Zuschlag family of Albuquerque, New Mexico is greatly treasured.
Bernard is survived by five children, Bernard (Sandee) Ware Jr. of Bear Lake, MI, Ralph (Jean) Ware of Tucson, AZ, Chris (Kym) Ware of Bear Lake, MI, Joseph (Ruth) Ware of Los Altos, CA, and Maria (Don) Appleby of Champaign, IL; his cherished grandchildren, Joshua (Melanie), Jason (Bridget), Jacob (Kristin), Jenna, David (Rebecca), Sophia, and Mark; and precious great-grandchildren, Cheyenne, Trace, Jacob, Will, Colee, Macy, Conner, Chloe, Celia, Carolynn, and Lincoln Bud Ware; his brother Dean (Sandy) of Bear Lake, MI, and many generations of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Bernard Ware was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Irma, after 58 years of marriage; his son, George; his brothers John, Art, Prentis, and Burton; and his sisters Grace Eldredge (Ware) and Irene Olenizcak (Ware).
During his final years, Bud returned to the farmhouse and was lovingly and compassionately cared for by Bernie and Sandee, and he cherished the many visits, phone, and Zoom calls from family and friends. The Ware Family wishes to thank the healthcare providers: nurses, pharmacists, physicians, therapists, and others at Munson Medical Center, Frankfort Maples, West Shore Hospital, and Munson Hospice that provided care over the past several years.
The Ware family will host a community memorial post COVID-19 pandemic with timing to be determined.
The Family asks that in lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Bear Lake United Methodist Church, Arcadia Lutheran Church, Tight Lines for Troops, Bear Lake Food Pantry or the Father Fred Foundation (fatherfred.org).
Share a memory of Bud at www.oakgrovefh.com. Arrangements by the Oak Grove Funeral Home & Cremation Center in Manistee.