Cover photo for Bernhardt A. “Bernie” Zeiher's Obituary
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Bernhardt A. “Bernie” Zeiher

September 27, 1929 — August 18, 2019

Bernie Zeiher, age 89, passed away peacefully Sunday, Aug 18, 2019 at Ohio Living Swan Creek, Toledo, Ohio. Bernie had many redeeming qualities including his strong Catholic faith, love of Family, work, community service, and golf. He was a longtime parishioner of Christ the King Catholic Church. He joined the Knights of Columbus during college and remained a third-degree member until his death.

Bernie was born in Sandusky, Ohio on Sept 27, 1929, to Bernhardt G. and Mary (Wagner) Zeiher. He graduated from Sandusky St. Mary’s HS in 1947. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Social Science from Georgetown University in 1951 and then a Master in Hospital Administration from Northwestern University in 1954. After serving as an Assistant Administrator at Riverside Hospital in Toledo and St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington, WV, he became the President and CEO of the area’s only Osteopathic hospital, Parkview, in Toledo, Ohio. From 1964 until his retirement in 1991, Bernie guided Parkview to a high level of care to residents in Northwest Ohio and SE Michigan. He would oversee two expansion programs in 1969 and 1981. After his retirement, he remained active in community healthcare including serving as Chair of the Swan Creek Board, and member of the OPRC (Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Community – now Ohio Living) Board from 1992 to 2002, and an at large member of the Operations Committee from 2003-2006.

Bernie’s major accomplishments include his service as President of the Hospital Council of NW Ohio in 1972 and Chairman of the American Osteopathic Hospital Association in 1976. He became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the College of Osteopathic Healthcare Executives in 1978. Bernie also served as the Chairman of the Board of the American College of Osteopathic Hospital Administrators in 1978, which he described as the epitome of his career. He was a representative to the Council on Federal Health Program and the Committee on Postdoctoral Training of the American Osteopathic Association and served as an Accreditation Inspector. He became a Life Member of the American Hospital Association in 1983 and received the Award of Merit from the American Osteopathic Hospital Association (their highest honor) in recognition of his leadership in 1983. He received the College of Osteopathic Healthcare Executives Distinguished Service Award in 1989. Locally, he served as President of the Hospital Council of NW Ohio, had two terms as President of the Ohio Osteopathic Hospital Association, and NW District chairman and member of the Board of the Ohio Hospital Association.
Despite his many accomplishments Bernie held Family most dear and he was always there to give his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren his love and support. From baptisms to weddings to graduations, to ball games, Bernie was there. He had a passion for golf. He was a longtime member of Sylvania Country Club from 1964 to 2008 where he also served as a Vice President and Board member. His two Holes-In-One in 1981 and 1997 were highlights of his golfing legacy. He traveled to Scotland with his Dad to play the famous course at St. Andrews in 1985. He continued to play golf into his 80’s and was an avid bridge player. After retirement he became a “snowbird” wintering in Gulf Shores, AL.

He met his first wife, Nancy Farrell, working at Cedar Point during college. They married in 1951 and had 4 children. Nancy passed away in 1987. Bernie remarried in 1989 to Joan Thorpe, a high school classmate. She preceded him in death in 2012. He was also preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Mary Martha in 1931, and Eleanore Palmison in 2007, and brothers-in-law William Farrell in 1998 and Charles Palmison in 1977.

Surviving are his 4 children: Mary (Paul) Nungester, Ann (Byron) Appling, Bernice (Daniel) Gust, and Bernie (Paula) Zeiher. Also, surviving are his 11 grandchildren: Paul (Nicole) Nungester, Sandy (Paul) Adam, Katie (Jay) Zawisza, Julie (Mike) Ritter, Karen (Brian) French, Bruce (Gloria) Appling, Kelly (Ed) Deisher, Tracy Gust, Danny Gust, Alex (Megan) Zeiher, and Jacob Zeiher. Surviving are 15 great-grandchildren: Travis, Ashley, Bella, Ainsley, Anna, Alex, Karis, Brynn, Devri, Faith, Grace, John, Eric, Abby, and Keira.

The family wishes to express its extreme gratitude to Ohio Living Swan Creek for the kind care and compassionate support they gave Bernie over these past several years. A thanks also to Hospice for their devotion during Bernie’s final trying days. In lieu of flowers, tributes may be directed to Ohio Living Swan Creek or Christ the King Catholic Church.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bernhardt A. “Bernie” Zeiher, please visit our flower store.


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