Contributed by Mike and Donna
Bernd and Joan came into our lives when they were moving down to the Lake Chapala area of Mexico, near Guadalajara. Originally they were planning to stay at our independent living apartments for a short time until they found a more permanent situation, but fortunately for us, they stayed for a year before they moved into their own lovely home in Ajijic.
Their time with us was so enjoyable. Bernd would come to dinner, and say hello to his special friend Laura, a German-born lady, in her 90’s, with the heart of a teenager! Both of them would greet each other formally, in German, and had an instant connection from their common childhoods. It was always fun to see them together chatting animatedly.
Bernd was the epitome of a “gentle-man”, always greeting everyone with his beaming smile, with those shining eyes that radiated such love and joy. He always made each person feel so special, asking us about our lives, our days, and being an amazing host as well as making people feel very comfortable around him. In the year we lived together I don’t think I ever saw him upset or down or having a bad day.
He was so kind-hearted and soft spoken, he would draw those of us around him, into his circle of warmth and truly brightened our lives. When Bernd and Joan moved to their own home, they continued to contribute to the community around them and commissioned an amazing mural on the outside walls of their home, they built a sidewalk down the street near their home so that residents and vendors could easily walk the block to the malecon (boardwalk along the lake) and they contributed to many many charities in the area, as well as made it possible for those close to them, to take business opportunities and to expand their options for education and future success. Generosity is truly something I remember Bernd (and Joan) for. It is one of those hidden legacies, that they have changed and enriched many of the lives of those they helped and contributed to.
When I reflect on Bernd and think about him, so many beautiful things come to mind. He reminded me of a noble European aristocrat, with the twinkle in his eye of the Latin Lover! Bernd, thank you for brightening my life and for sharing the joy of the journey while you were here in Mexico with us. We love and miss you! You have left behind a legacy and touched us with your warmth, love, and caring spirit. May you rest in peace after living such a full and rich life!