A Celebration at the Chariton Community Center with their five children, nine grand children, 10 great grandchildren, other family members and friends, longtime Hy-Vee coworkers and those from the community who wanted to wish the couple well happened recently.
Bernie began to work at Hy-Vee two months before his 20th birthday. He remembered his first day. "I worked all day that day with Dwight Vredenburg," he said. "I actually hired out to him. He was president of the company, but was not afraid of work. And once he knew your name, he remembered it. That day we worked in the warehouse unloading trucks. At that time a lot of the merchandise came in by rail car. We worked together all day my first day."
The year before Bernie started working was the year that Chariton Wholesale Grocery was purchased by Hy-Vee. When the grocery was purchased, its five sales people were kept on and eventually added to by one. At the time, sales people were given two weeks vacation a year - opening up a new job for Bernie. He covered the sales territories for the 12 weeks during the summer when the sales force was out on vacation. Each sales route had several customers for Bernie to visit to take orders that , in those days, were then delivered the next day.
Bernie married a girl he knew in high school, Leila Stout and the marriage has lasted 65 years.
There are many family member working for Hy-Vee. His younger brother, Richard Mitchell is a former Vice President and another younger brother, Joe, worked for the company. Hired back after his stint in the Navy, Joe ended up working for Hy-Vee for 30 years. He was the head of the meat department in Albia for many years. Bernie's sister, Margaret Morrison and her husband, Bob Morrison (37 years with the company) worked together in the stores. After retiring from his position as a Chief Operating Officer, Bob remained on the Advisory Board for a period of time.
"Hy-Vee has been a big part of my whole family," Bernie said, "I am celebrating that part of my life at the same time that I am celebrating my 65th wedding anniversary. With Hy-Vee 60 years was the limit. With my marriage, well, once I get past the Aug. 16 party, I will look forward to planning my 70th wedding anniversary!".