Bernard Eugene Williford Jr., 56 of Arborvitae Drive, Pine Knoll Shores, passed away Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Carteret Health Care in Morehead City.
An outdoor service honoring Bernie’s life is at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, at First Christian Church in Robersonville.
Bernie was born on April 21, 1965, in Wake County to Dorothy Louise Clark and the late Bernard Eugene Williford. He was baptized as a youth at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Garner, was active in the Boy Scouts and served as Assistant Scoutmaster while living in Burgaw, NC.
Bernie graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point while also playing on their football team. He served 29 years in the United States Army and the North Carolina Army National Guard earning the rank of Colonel. He deployed during Operation Desert Storm with the 5th Battalion, 18th Infantry, as well as serving two tours of duty in Iraq with the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team. During his distinguished military career, he earned the Legion of Merit, 3 Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman Badge along with a myriad of other awards, medals, and honors. He was a wonderful husband and father and was a soldier and leader who inspired those around him to achieve excellence. Additionally, he served on the Town Board of Everetts, NC and the board of the Pine Knoll Shores Homeowners Association. He was an avid cyclist, scuba diver and scuba instructor. All aspects of Bernie’s life reflected his love of life and a commitment to live a life of service to others. Above all, he loved his family, his country and God.
He is survived by his wife, Raine Smith Williford of the home; his mother, Dorothy Clark Williford of Everetts; sons, Blake Bernard Williford and wife Brittany of Fayetteville and Braxton Smith Williford of Pine Knoll Shores; daughter, Carah Conoley Williford of Washington; sisters, Eugenia Clark Williford of Alexandria, VA, and Louise Wynn Bennett of Elm City.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to NC National Guard Association, 7410 Chapel Hill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607, or Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), 30151 Tomas, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688.
Walker Funeral Home of Williamston is serving the Williford family. Online condolences may be directed to www.walkerfh.net.