Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living


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Bernard Florence

Veteran Bernard Florence

Posted on March 21, 2014 by Katy Miller

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My father, Bernard Florence, served in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot during World War II. He served proudly starting at the young age of 16 in the Pacific.

My father went on to earn two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees, one in chemical engineering and the other in business. He graduated from Tufts, Notre Dame and Harvard University.

Bernard Florence was a compassionate, loving, sincere, happy and hard-working man who had great respect and love for his country, the United States.

My mom, Rivkah Florence, has a Ph.D in philosophy and education and is accomplished on subjects ranging from science, to literature and politics. Her idea of a pleasant afternoon is listening to the CDs I bring her on topics such as science, the brain, astronomy, etc.

After my father passed away, a Colonel from the USAF, dept. of the Air Force sent a condolence letter to my mom and enclosed the following poem to express the exhilaration a pilot feels when piloting their aircraft.

"High Flight"
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on Laughter-silvered
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tum'
bling mirth
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and
soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.  Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
UP, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with
easy grace
where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

— Fannie Goldsmith (Daughter of Atria Kew Gardens' resident, Rivkah Florence)

Category: Veteran Heroes Tags: ,


  • Eli Florence says:

    On top of being accomplished in the Military, academically and in business, he was the greatest father. He loved his family and devoted at great of time to his children. He was a caring and compassionate soul who would help anyone. The world is a better place because he was here.

  • Martin Ingber says:

    While I did not have the pleasure of knowing Bernard Florence, it has been my priviledge to know and admire Rivkah Florence for several years during her time here at Atria Kew Gardens.

    Rivkah is a remarkable woman, an individual possessed of both knowledge and intelligence, as well one of strength, conviction and no small measure of wit. Often enough, stimulating interactions with her during some of our Atria discussion groups constitute the most memorable moments of my day.

    At Atria Kew Gardens, we are dedicated to providing an exceptional environment in senior living for Rivkah Florence and all of our residents.

    Martin Ingber
    Engage Life Director
    Atria Kew Gardens