Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Bernard La Chance: 1932 ~ 2016


Bernard Edward La Chance Jr. of Ridgecrest, Calif., passed away Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016.   He was 83.

A memorial service will be held Friday, Feb. 26,  1 p.m., at Holland & Lyons Mortuary, 216 S. Norma St., Ridgecrest.  

Bernard was born November 19, 1932, in Portland, Ore., where he spent his childhood. His family moved to Oakland, Calif., where Bernard graduated high school. 

He was an avid skier and attended Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., to participate on the ski team. After leaving Washington State, he attended a professional photography school in San Francisco’s Bay Area before being drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. 

Bernard served a tour of duty in Korea, working as an Army photographer. After his discharge, he attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he met his wife, Miriam. 

He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Political Science. Later in life, he attended graduate school at California State University, Fresno, earning a Master’s degree in Linguistics.  

Bernard was a lifelong educator, coach, and student mentor who started his teaching and coaching careers in Dunsmuir, Calif. He taught middle school and high school in Dunsmuir and while also coaching football. 

His career included teaching assignments overseas in American Samoa, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. He taught American history, political science, and English for 12 years at Woodlake High School where he also was an athletic coach. 

He taught courses at Fresno State and Fresno Community College and finished his career teaching English for nearly 20 years at Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest. During his career, Bernard was an advocate for those students and athletes who most needed a mentor.   

He was an outdoor enthusiast, spending summers working for the National Park Service and vacations traveling the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including many long-distance bicycle tours. He loved skiing, hiking, and biking and even took up skydiving in his 60s. 

He traveled the Pacific Northwest extensively, kayaking and camping his way up the Oregon and Washington coasts. During his last several years, he took his dog, Easy, along and recounted their adventures in his writings and photographs. 

An accomplished photographer, Bernard chronicled his travels and his view of the world through many beautiful and artistic photographs of friends, family, students, and places. 

He is survived by his daughters Jodi La Chance of Three Rivers and Kimberly Roe; grandchildren Noel Nelson, Trystan Nelson, Maxwell Nelson, and Helen Roe; great-grandchild Osiah Nelson; and nieces and nephew Jan Lindquist, Dayna Scudder, Nina Barrett, and Paul Lundholm.