Michael Anthony Bernatovicz, age 81, went to be with his Lord and Savior and loving, late wife, on March 22, 2020, surrounded by family in Akron. He battled prostate cancer for 25 years, and spent the last six months fighting pancreatic cancer.

He was born October 3, 1938 in Cleveland, OH to Anthony and Julia Bernatovicz, both Polish immigrants. He married Fredreen Schnieder June 25, 1960, spending over 60 loving years together. He received a BSBA from John Carroll University and his EMBA from Baldwin Wallace college. After serving in the US Army for two years, Michael spent the rest of his career in healthcare, working first in the VA Hospital system, and later becoming CEO of Barberton Hospital. He retired in 1999 and moved to Asheville, NC, to enjoy the scenic mountain vistas and temperate climate with his wife.

Michael enjoyed playing golf, shooting seven holes-in-one over the course of his career, and shooting his age 153 times. He also played duplicate bridge, listened to jazz, and volunteered in Asheville maintaining community gardens and feeding the hungry. He was a member of the Carolina Golf Association, Western North Carolina Jazz Society, and North Carolina Arboretum. He believed in the value of hard work, the importance of family, faith and education, and doing what was right regardless of the cost.

In 2000, Michael became a follower of the macrobiotic lifestyle, which focuses on whole foods and balance. This improved his health and helped him control his prostate cancer for the rest of his life.

Michael is survived by his loving children Tony (Elizabeth Parker) Bernatovicz, Terese (Jason) Gavin, Andrew (Bethany) Bernatovicz, and John (Emily) Bernatovicz, and his wonderful grandchildren Mike, Millie, Jack, Julie, Lizzy, El, Carly, Tyler, Will, and Mallory. He is the son of Anthony and Julia Bernatovicz (deceased). His wife, Fredreen Bernatovicz, sister, Irene Gazdek and daughter-in-law Julie Davis Bernatovicz preceded Michael in death.

Thank you to the wonderful staff from Summa at Home Hospice, and The Justin T. Rogers Hospice Care Center, who took care of Michael in his last months and days.

A celebration of Michael’s life a mass will be held at Saint Hilary Catholic Church, Akron, Ohio. A mass will also be held at Saint Eugene Catholic Church, 72 Culver Street, Asheville, NC. Details for both will be determined at a later date. Please check the online obituary for service dates and times.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to The Bernatovicz Family and Frank Smenda Scholarship Fund at John Carroll University, 20700 North Park Blvd, University Heights Ohio 44118. Please note the scholarship name on your check and send it to Peter Bernardo’s attention.

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  1. Our deepest condolences to your beautiful family. Mike was an amazing man and will truly be missed. Love Joe and Roberta Vasilakis

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. May the God of all comfort help you during this difficult time.
    (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 & Psalms 83:18). Jesus prayed for God’s Kingdom to come because He knew it would be able to solve all mankind’s problems even death. (Revelation 21:4,5 & Daniel 2:44).

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