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A funeral ceremony honoring the life of R.E. "Bert" Bertolino will be held 11 a.m. Monday, May 15, 2017 in the Verdigris United Methodist Church. Pallbearers will be retired and active members of Verdigris Fire Department. The family will receive visitors from 6-8 p.m. Sunday at the Rice funeral home in Claremore, OK.
Bert passed away Tuesday May 9, 2017 surrounded by family, at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa. He was 75.
Born June 16, 1941 in Virden Illinois, Bert was the son of Paul and Evon (McKinney) Bertolino.
He grew up in Virden, Illinois and went to school there.
On June 2nd 1961 Bert married the love of his life, Miss Clara Jean Evans in Murfreesboro, IL. They made their home in Chatham, Illinois and later moved to Oklahoma where he was an active member of the Claremore community. Bert was liked and beloved by all who met him.
A man of many jobs and responsibilities: he was known mostly as a bricklayer, builder and firefighter. He was lifetime member of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsman union; joining in November 1958. He owned and operated Bertolino Construction in Illinois and BB&B Construction in Oklahoma.
He was proud to have served over 20 years on the Verdigris Volunteer Fire Department, and was the "Firefighter of the year" in 2000 and the "Top Responder" in 2005; making 265 runs that year. Other titles he held include: private pilot, auctioneer, and baseball coach.
He was a Master Gardener; graduating in the first class of OSU Extension Master Gardeners in 2003. He was instrumental with starting the Farmers Market here in Claremore.
An avid Golfer, he loved playing at courses all over the area, and especially the last few years at his second home in Pensacola at the Lost Key Golf Club. For several years, he was a member of the Antioch Mountain Boys Confederate Civil War reenactors.
Surviving family include his loving wife of 56 years: Clara Jean (C.J.) Bertolino; one son: Brian Bertolino and his wife Julie, of Meridian, OK; one sister: Lavonne Gabbard of Alton, IL; five grandchildren: Rebecca Russell, Brian K. Bertolino II, Christin Nicole Bertolino, William (Wil) Paul Bertolino, and Alex Russell Bertolino; three great-grandchildren: Katelyn Michelle Farmer, Ashley Nicole Bertolino and Paige Anne Bertolino. Several in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Evon Bertolino and his brother, Alex Dewayne Bertolino.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Verdigris Firefighters Association, Inc. in his name. Mail donations to BancFirst 26205 S. Highway 66 Claremore, OK 74019.
Published on May 12, 2017
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