John Bersen passed away peacefully at age 92 on September 19 at Newton Memorial Medical Center. Born in East Orange, NJ, John and his wife Dolores (nee Schuvart) lived over 50 years in Lake Shawnee.
Duty called at a very young age for John as he enlisted in the Merchant Marines to support the WWII war effort at age 15. He completed courses at Union High School while aboard ship and rose quickly through the ranks to become Chief Engineer on various Liberty Ships. During the Korean War, John served for two years as a Lieutenant in the US Navy. Returning to the Merchant Marines, John was honored to train as a nuclear specialist on the NS Savannah, and was proud to be in charge during initial criticality of the world’s first commercial nuclear ship. He is one of a handful of maritime engineers worldwide to hold certifications in steam, diesel, and nuclear engines.
John then shared his wealth of knowledge with the next generation of maritime engineers as the designer and department head of the electrical department of the Calhoon MEBA Engineering School in Baltimore. While there, John used his spare time to build an operational replica of a ship’s engine room in the lower level of the school using salvaged components. He finished his career as VP of Port Engineering with Prudential Lines, with his office in the World Trade Center.
In retirement, John enjoyed travelling in his motor home to all 48 contiguous states, maintaining his property in Lake Shawnee, and developing his skill as an artist in watercolor, stained glass, and ceramic painting. He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Berkshire Valley, where he is fondly remembered for his years of work as head of the buildings and grounds committee. Family and friends cherish John for his quick wit, his grateful attitude, and his willingness to preserve memories via photography.
John is predeceased by his wife Dolores as well as his brother, Walter.
He is survived by his children John Bersen (Phoenix), Mark Bersen (Lyndeborough, NH), Diane Bersen (Bloomfield, NJ), and Dorothy Martin and husband David (Wantage, NJ) and also by his grandchildren Danielle, Ashley, Linsey, Michael, Daniel, Drew, and David.
Visitation will be held 4pm to 8pm at the Bermingham Funeral Home, 216 South Main Street, Wharton, NJ 07885 on Thursday, September 26, 2019.
A funeral service will be held 9:30am on Friday, September 27, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church of Berkshire Valley, 635 Berkshire Valley Road, Wharton, NJ 07885.
Interment will follow at Restland Memorial Park, 77 DeForest Avenue, East Hanover, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, donations in John's memory to the N.S. Savannah Association would be appreciated at ns-savannah.org.
N/S Savannah Association, Inc. - Memberships c/o Jim Turso
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