Hanover, N.H. — Bernard Clifford Decker, Jr. died Thursday, March 16, 2017, at the age of 86 while in hospice care in Hanover.
Bernard, known by friends and family as Bernie, was born in Boston, Mass. on Nov. 24, 1930, son of Bernard Clifford Decker, Sr. and Mary (Ryder) Decker. He was the second of three children. He graduated in 1948 from Newton (MA) High School and then attended Boston College, attaining his bachelor’s degree in English in 1952. He joined the US Army Infantry shortly after this and served through 1954, including being stationed in a MASH unit in a Korean War combat zone.
After returning to the US, he enrolled in graduate school at Boston University, receiving his master’s degree in journalism in 1956. After graduate school, he moved to Springfield, Mass., and began working as a newspaper reporter at the Springfield Union.
He married Adrienne (Depper) Decker, also of Newton, in 1959. He continued working in the western MA area and even had his own humor column, known as “On My Mind” at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton. He is listed in the Congressional Record for one of his columns in that newspaper. He remained in the newspaper business, later working at the Knickerbocker News (Albany, NY) until the early 1970s, at which time he became a journalism professor at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI. He also worked part-time at the Ypsilanti Press as the arts and entertainment editor and as a reporter covering the Ann Arbor and Detroit arts scene, and he spent a short stint as a copy editor at the Detroit News during the 1980 Republican National Convention.
Bernie was a great lover of tennis, poker, opera, jazz and blues music. He also had a great sense of humor. He once rewrote the country song, “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother,” for his wife Adrienne’s 50th birthday.
Bernie retired as a full tenured professor in 1995, and he and Adrienne retired to Tucson, AZ. Unfortunately, only a few years later, he lost Adrienne to lung cancer after many years spent fighting Multiple Sclerosis. A few years later, Bernie met his loving companion Margaret (Peggy) Holleman.
Aftermeeting Peggy, Bernie extended his love of teaching to work with her and their many beloved friends as museum docents at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. Bernie lost Peggy to cancer in 2014 and shortly thereafter moved to the Hanover, NH-Norwich, VT area to be near his son Paul’s family and return to his beloved New England.
Bernie is survived by his four children Christopher Decker of Sherborn, MA, Dr. Paul Decker (Dr. Janice Pilon) of Hanover, N.H, Carolyn (Kevin) Hogan of Saline, MI, and Elizabeth Decker of Englewood, CO, and his five loving grandchildren Megan, Brendan, and Erin Hogan, and Katie and Reilly Decker. He is also survived by his stepchildren Dr. Linda Demer of Los Angeles, Christopher Holleman of Oracle, AZ, and David (Miriam) Holleman of Deland, FL, and step-grandchildren Gregory and Ricky Demer and Sam Holleman. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. In addition to his parents and his wife Adrienne, Bernie was predeceased by his brother, Robert Decker, and his sister, Margaret Maynes. No memorial service will be held and his body will be cremated. Contributions may be made to your local community food bank, Lewy Body Dementia Association, or the American Cancer Society.
To view an online memorial and or send a message of condolence to the family, please visit www.rand-wilson.com
Arrangements are under the direction of the Rand-Wilson Funeral Home of Hanover, NH.