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Obituaries » Roy DeBenneville Bertolet, VMD

Roy DeBenneville Bertolet, VMD

May 25, 1922 - April 14, 2020

U.S. Veteran

Service Date:

Funeral Home James Wilson Funeral Home

The scheduling of Roy’s memorial is on hold due to current health restrictions.
When known, it will be posted here.
Roy’s family will be sharing their personal tribute to him on this website in the near future. Please return to view.
Feel free to leave comments to the family below.

 

My sister and I were asked to write a tribute about our Dad, to honor his life. WOW, what a daunting task! As God usually does it, He put the word “mosaic” on my heart. A mosaic is a thing of beauty, made up of many colorful, variegated patterns of diverse elements.

Isn’t that what each of our lives are? God creates and shapes each life by pouring out blessings in the form of life events and relationships with both family and friends. Additionally, we face challenges as well as moments of suffering, all shaping our character which brings us closer to the very one who gave us life!

Our family is so grateful to each and every one of you reading this right now, for you are an important piece of the mosaic that was our Dad’s life!! From the bottom of our hearts, we thank each and every one of you for your love, kindness, and significant contribution to his life! As we spread the news of our Dad’s passing, we were blessed to hear your stories, which added beautiful pieces to the mosaic that we weren’t aware of. This tribute of Roy’s life, from his children’s perspective, may give you some pieces of that beautiful mosaic to add to your memories of Roy.

A TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE OF
DR. ROY DeBENNEVILLE BERTOLET
May 25, 1922 to April 14, 2020

Playing in the driveway of a house in Philadelphia, there was a 6-year-old boy, bridling the family’s two Great Danes to a small red wagon. He was going to tour the neighborhood in a dog-drawn carriage! Roy loved animals, and decided, at that young age, he was going to be a veterinarian when he grew up. In 1948, Roy graduated with his VMD degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

His Somerton Veterinary Hospital was opened, and he dedicated 34 wonderful years to a profession he loved. I’m not sure many knew how shy and uncomfortable Roy was talking and dealing with people back then. Animals no problem, but people? “School never prepared me for that”, he exclaimed. Hard to believe the out-going, confident man we all came to know, at one time, wasn’t so confident or talkative!

As if Roy didn’t have enough on his plate, he gets a phone call from our former minister, who had moved to St. Philips Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. The voice on the other end said, “Roy, we have a team of medical professionals going on a mission trip to Honduras and we need a veterinarian.” For the next 12 years, he traveled to the Honduran mission field, joining a dedicated group of Christian doctors, dentists, and nurses to help those in need. Roy would laugh while reminiscing about the horrendous condition of the dirt roads, making for a tumultuous bus ride that lasted for hours, in order to get to the town of Proteccion!! Word traveled fast that the veterinarian was in town. Many residents in the mountains, would travel miles to have their injured and sick horses evaluated and treated. One such Honduran was described as a mafioso-type cattle rancher, who meandered into town with guns holstered onto his belt, proclaiming, “I only want Dr Roy to examine my horses”. Over those many years, Roy was entrusted to care for hundreds of horses and farm animals! He was highly respected and loved by the people; so much so, that one man actually asked Roy to be the best man at his wedding!

UP, UP AND AWAY!! His favorite pastime was taking to the skies in his single engine airplane to escape the stresses of the day. If you had the pleasure of flying with him, you knew to hold on tight, especially when he practiced the hammer head stalls! He would fly the plane vertically, to the point of intentionally stalling the engine, and then drop the nose back down to restart it! Wooo Hooo! That took your breath away and made your heart skip a beat or two!! The other favorite was the 90-degree 2-minute turn. Round and round and round he’d go! Only when he saw you turning green and grabbing for “the bucket”, would he decide to stop. The fly-byes were a more popular choice, by most. He would descend to a lower altitude to say hello to family and friends on the ground, by waving with the wings. Swooping low over the Long Beach Island shore home was always a favorite. Boy, we had so much fun and our Dad gained many great friendships with members of the airport community.

GO PENN STATE!! Neither rain, wind, sleet nor snow kept him from attending home football games in Happy Valley. The tailgates before the game, the partying afterwards, (whether it be with fellow PSU alumni friends or with his Phi Gam brothers), was always full of laughs and fun! He so loved his Alma Mater and his Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Roy made it his mission to help restore and maintain the stoic history and beauty of the fraternity’s homestead.

Roy loved the Pocono mountains. His plan was to build a log house on a wooded lot by a lake, to enjoy after retirement. Mom and Dad bustled all of us into the car to travel the long 3 hours of winding mountain roads, all the while putting up with the frequent “are we there yet?” comments. As we were standing on the lot, gazing out on a massive crater with puddles in it, Dad is ready to sign the contract! We kids were scratching our heads, not seeing his vision of what was to be, even though he pointed and said, “that is going to be the lake”! Needless to say, he built his dream. Now, retirement means taking it easy and relaxing, right? Roy didn’t know what that meant! Over the years, he transformed that property into a beautiful lakefront oasis. No stone was unturned, nor branch left to rot in those woods, thanks to his trusty Kubota tractor and chain saw. How exhilarating, actually scary, it was to see a 95-year-old man wielding a chain saw to cut down dying trees or fallen branches! He loved the beauty of his surroundings and made it a hobby to keep it meticulous. He became a self-professed “Mountain Man”, and over the years, a trusted friend to many people, both in and outside Fawn Lake. We, and many of you, had opportunity to enjoy Roy and Grace’s hospitality over the 35 years of their lake life. We fed the deer, and watched the bears, eagles, and turkeys. We swam in that beautiful lake, fished and took canoe rides. Such fond memories had by all!

God brings people into our lives when we most need them. Cheryl and Debbie, who are sisters that lived in the area, are two of these people. For years, Dad and Mom frequented the Lackawaxen restaurant that Cheryl and Deb managed. As God orchestrated, the restaurant lease was cancelled, and they found themselves jobless. At the same time Dad was desperate to find a caregiver to help with Mom, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Thank you, God, for leading them to each other! There are no words to fully express our gratitude and appreciation for the love and care that Cheryl and Debbie freely poured out on both of our parents over the course of 12 years! LOVE YOU CHERYL AND DEBBIE!!
What is there left to say about the beautiful mosaic that God created and blessed our family with? Our Dad deeply loved us and was the rock of our family. He was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. His character and qualities have shaped and molded us into the unique individuals we are today. Our cousin Elizabeth summed it up beautifully when she said, “You will feel his presence over and over again, often when you least expect it. His laugh, his wisdom, and his sparkling blue eyes will live on in his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren”.
Dad, you were truly a gift from God, and all of us will miss you dearly. “Well done, good and faithful servant”, saith the Lord.

 

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