Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

At 102, He's Still Giving Back Fellow Volunteers Say Bernie Queneau Inspires Them

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

At 102, He's Still Giving Back Fellow Volunteers Say Bernie Queneau Inspires Them

Article excerpt

Bernard "Bernie" Queneau has earned the right to brag about his accomplishments, which include serving as a Naval commander in World War II, laboring in steel mills, earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University as well as teaching there, and earning a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

And at 102, he is still going strong as a volunteer at Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Meals on Wheels and St. Clair Hospital. A library colleague describes his life as "inspirational."

In the summer of 1941, Mr. Queneau married Henrietta Nye. He joked that he had to go AWOL from the Navy to do so.

"I got married and reported for duty the next Monday," he said.

They raised their three children in Upper St. Clair: Jean Davis, now 72; Anne Queneau, 70; and Margot Marsh, 66. Mr. Queneau has four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and another on the way.

His wife died of cancer in 1970. Mr. Queneau later married Mary Goettge, who died in 1999 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

In 2003, at the age of 91, Mr. Queneau said he found love again and married Esther McNaull Oyster. They live in Mt. Lebanon.

"Esther said yes to a 91-year-old. That's what you call a gambler," Mr. Queneau said with a laugh. He recalls the first time he met her family - at a reunion attended by about 44 of her relatives and, as he says, "One Bernie."

"They asked me if I had any piercings," he said with a laugh.

After putting him through the ringer at that reunion, Mr. Queneau said he knew he liked her family and that sealed the deal.

The couple volunteers together at Mt. Lebanon Public Library's used-book store, the Book Cellar. Volunteering is something Mr. Queneau has done since retiring nearly 30 years ago from his job as general manager of quality assurance at U.S. Steel. He recently was honored for volunteering more than 2,500 hours at St. …

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