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May 30th
Home Sections Obituary-Memorial Park Remembering Bernie Lehrer
Remembering Bernie Lehrer PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Obituary-Memorial Park
Written by Bobby Reyes   
Monday, 23 March 2009 17:17

Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget – Suz Montgomery


If Elvis Presley comes back from the grave for a performance one last time, chances are Bernie Lehrer will be with him. And Bernie will be holding the microphone, if not the guitar. This writer is sure that somewhere in the Great Beyond, Mr. Presley is laughing-out loud (LOL) and more, as the octogenarian Bernie regales him with his Elvis impersonation, as accompanied by witticism and humor that the rock-and-roll king never heard or experienced in his short life on Earth.



This writer never met Bernie Lehrer in person. The Filipino-American poet Maya Teague introduced me online to Bernie. Well, Bernie contributed three articles to, and some comments every time we posted a Maya Teague poem in, this website.


* Editor’s Note: The links to Atty. Lehrer’s articles in this website are found in this obituary piece written by Maya Teague: Bernard Lehrer, LLB, JD, Writes 30 


J ust last February, I sent Bernie an inquiry if he would be interested in helping us organize a Philippine-American Legal Defense and Educational Foundation (PALDEF). I asked him, “Will you be interested in joining our legal arm in the United States?" I told him about our five-pronged approach to uniting the Filipino Americans, beginning with the organization of an "American-Philippine Public Affairs Council (APPAC)" as the first step. He replied: “I’ll help where I can. But present health concerns keep me from making commitments (getting eye surgery and I’ve got a bum back). But I’m still active at the computer. b.” 


On 2/13/2009 8:08:15 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, I sent another e-mail to Atty. Lehrer about our plans of fielding Overseas-Filipino candidates for the 2010 Philippine national elections. I said also that he should retire with us and help us organize in Northern Philippines the ultimate retirement city in the world, which we dub the “Vegas of the East (VOTE).”


I said that the Vegas-style retirement cultural-and-gaming resort project was one of the targets mentioned in the socioeconomic platform of our “ReVOTElution.” I kidded him that he could be the next “Harry Stonehill” and that he could be a better and more socially-relevant version and more-entertaining at that. He replied: “Good luck. Keep me advised.  Bernie.”  


* Editor’s Note: To read more about the planned “revolution through the ballot” for the Philippines, please go to this section, Revotelution. And if readers do not know who Harry Stonehill was, please go to this link, Smoke in Manila - TIME[OPEN_P] Harry S. Stonehill resembles the kind of character that the late Sydney ... "Every man has his price," said Harry Stonehill, and in the Philippines ...,9171,873686,00.html  


N ow, our plans of seeing Bernie perform his impersonation of Elvis Presley at the “VOTE” are gone. But we do hope that somewhere in the “Filipino Nation of America,” we can find an ABER Filipino or an American married to a Filipino (like Bernie was to the love of his life) who can do a superb imitation of Bernie Lehrer, who was “the quintessential soul for all the ages,” to borrow the words of Maya Teague. (An “ABER Filipino,” as I coined, refers to the “American-born, educated and/or raised scions of Filipino immigrants.”)


Maya continues to describe Bernie: “He became, for me, the father I had lost, the brother I could jostle with, the friend with a quenchless admiration for all things well-cooked, well-endowed and well-written. And may I add how well-lived his life was, too. 


“We were his second family.  I am just grateful he left us with many YouTube videos – some spectacular, others excruciating – clips to remember him by.”


Well, I am very sure that someday, I will get the chance to meet Bernie Lehrer in person in the Great Beyond. And I am doubly sure that he will introduce me to Elvis Presley, who has by this time probably hired Bernie as his personal lawyer. Alas, St. Peter won’t be able to stage another Presley concert without signing the dotted line of a contract that Atty. Lehrer would type out. 


As Maya Teague said, “Knowing Bernie, he must be giggling with glee over all this adulation.” Viva Las Vegas, Viva Elvis Presley, Viva Bernie Lehrer. Yes, the Elvis world of the Great Beyond would now be rocking louder and rolling more with Bernie around. And Elvis, St. Peter and all would be doing the “Rock and LOL.” And do more LOL over Bernie’s antics, wit and humor. # # #


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Last Updated on Monday, 23 March 2009 19:25
Comments (5)
1 Monday, 23 March 2009 19:24
Bernie was one of those people you rarely meet. He had a fast rapier wit and the way of cutting to the heart of any issue, by his directness and underlying kind heart.

My fondest Bernie memory, is from the Ventura County Star newspaper article (that described "Schmooze With Suz Show" with host Suz Montgomery“) so Bernie, so funny and so lovable . . . I'll always miss him . . .

Suz Montgomery
"Schmooze With Suz Show" Host
Avenue TV Cable, Ventura, California

"Give to the world the best that you have, and the best will come back to you" -- Mildred "Bitsy" Thompson (12/27/00 - 4/11/08)

Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget – Suz Montgomery
2 Monday, 23 March 2009 22:30
Bernie Lehrer was, for me, the father I had lost, a brother I could jostle with, a mentor who set me aright when I mishandled the vagaries of life and a dear, dear friend who taught me how to live my life as an empowered female.

His zest for life, never diminished by the medical setbacks, is an inspiration to us all. Those YouTube videos of him singing and goofing around will live on, and his wise counsel shall echo long after the grief fades.

Around Bernie, I was always myself. He would not have it any other way. His beautiful wife Ella will take comfort in their many loving moments. He was, and always will be, my shimmering light in the darkening years ahead.

Rest in perpetual peace, my beloved Friend.
3 Tuesday, 24 March 2009 07:14
At my request, the Ventura City Council adjourned today, March 23, 2009, in memory of Bernie Lehrer and the contributions he made to our community.

Neal Andrews
Member. Ventura City Council
4 Tuesday, 24 March 2009 07:17
My dearest Ella:

Shock made me to just sit here and absorb the reality of Bernie's passing, before I can send you this.

I am deeply sorry, and I know that nothing I could say will ease the pain that you and his family feel. I feel it too.

I have known Bernie for almost 3 decades (long before I graduated from law school) and though we did not always keep in touch, we were always connected in other ways.

He taught me a lot, and I can say without doubt, that my confidence in my personal and professional life stem from him.

He was a good man, always positive in life, and never had an unkind word for anyone.

I will miss his kindness. I will miss his laughter. I will miss his humor. But mostly, I will miss him.

This was one of his last email to me, "I try to do `Unforgetable`. But it turned out somewhat `forgetable'."

Bernie, wherever you are, God bless your soul, in this case, you were wrong! For you will always be “Unforgettable” not only to me, but also to your family, and to everyone that you have touched in your lifetime, as well.

Remember that we are here for you Ella, sharing not only your grief, but also the love that Bernie gave all of us.

Emi Lee
5 Tuesday, 24 March 2009 07:20
I hope you DO get the chance to meet Bernie. He was a delight. I met him in a production of My Fair Lady over 10 years ago, and we have been email buddies ever since . . . no matter what the subject . . .

A true loss.

Linda Smith

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