Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.
Clara May Theurer Bernhardt

Clara May Theurer Bernhardt

Female 1911 - 1993  (81 years)

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  • Name Clara May Theurer Bernhardt 
    Born 18 Jun 1911  Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Female 
    Honoured 1991 
    Order of Ontario 
    Died 1 May 1993  Freeport (Kitchener), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Buried 10 May 1993  Preston Cemetery, Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Hall of Fame - Cambridge 2002  Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • she wrote thousands of poems and had a number of them published in the Canadian Home Journal and the Star Weekly. She had five collections of poems published including "Silent Rhythm", "Far Horizons", "Hidden Music", "Bermuda Interlude" and "I Need You". Miss Bernhardt claimed that it was during the Second World War that she actually learned to write by contributing book reviews to the Prestonian, a local weekly newspaper...1a

      1awww.cambridge.ca
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-24604 
    Person ID I24604  Generations
    Last Modified 12 Jun 2019 

    Father Arthur Robert Bernhardt,   b. 17 Apr 1881, Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Aug 1976, Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 95 years) 
    Mother Ida May Theurer,   b. 13 Sep 1886, Bridgeport (Kitchener), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Nov 1933, Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years) 
    Married 25 Aug 1908  Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Family ID F222965  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 18 Jun 1911 - Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 1 May 1993 - Freeport (Kitchener), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 10 May 1993 - Preston Cemetery, Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsHall of Fame - Cambridge - 2002 - Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Clara May Theurer Bernhardt
    Clara May Theurer Bernhardt
    source of picture unknown

  • Notes 
    • BERNHARDT, Clara

      At Freeport Hospital Health Care Village, Kitchener, formerly of 515 Langs Drive, Cambridge, on Saturday, May 1, 1993, in her 82nd year. Dear sister of Frank of Cambridge. Also survived by nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her parents, Arthur and Ida Bernhardt; one sister, Kathryn Hagey (1971) and one brother, David (1993), all of Cambridge. Clara was born in Cambridge (Preston) and was a lifelong resident of the area. A member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church and a recipient of the Order of Ontario in 1991. At the request of Clara, there will be no visitation at the Barthel Funeral Home. 566 Queenston Rd., Cambridge. Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at the Fairview Central Auditorium, 515 Langs Drive, Cambridge, Monday May 10 at 2 p.m. Interment of ashes in Preston Cemetery.

      Kitchener-Waterloo Record 4 May 1993 pg A11

      ________________________

      As an adult, Clara May Theurer Bernhardt (1911-1993) would recall her earliest years as being full of fine accomplishments and activities: she could skate, play tennis, practise piano, and care for her younger siblings. Each of these activities would eventually be stripped from her by a debilitating disease. Born in Preston, Ontario, Clara was the eldest of five children. On an autumn evening during her eleventh year, she collapsed at the foot of the stairs on her way to bed. She was diagnosed with polio, a disease that dragged her through months of doubt and hope and confusion, not to mention numerous treatments and visits to the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. By the time the doctors had given up, Clara was in a wheelchair with a curved spine and all but entirely immobilized limbs. Determined to see his daughter succeed, father Arthur Bernhardt drove Clara to school and carried her into class, but this was only possible until Clara reached the eighth grade. As Preston lacked a high school, and because as streetcars could not accommodate wheelchairs, Clara became increasingly alienated from her peers. Nonetheless she studied hard, thanks to private tutors and extensive reading at home. Determined to write professionally, and to not fall behind her friends, Clara filled her spare time with writing practice. At only seventeen, with pieces already published in places like the GLOBE's "Circle of Young Canada" and with book reviews in the local paper, she received her first pay-cheque for "Eve's Opportunity," a short story in the American magazine GIRLHOOD DAYS. From the death of her mother, to enduring a bout of colitis, to losing out on a promised position writing a social events and women's organizations column, Clara continued to experience setbacks well into her early adult years. Supported by her work on staff with the KITCHENER DAILY RECORD and encouraged by her friendship with newspaperman Gregory Clark, she made it through the Depression. From her growing output of poems she continued to contribute prolifically to Canadian newspapers and magazines and to American religious magazines for children, publications including the CANADIAN HOME JOURNAL and STAR WEEKLY. Her first books were SILENT RHYTHM (1938), with a foreword by Ethelwyn Wetherald*, and NIN NAUNANIM, A SONNET SEQUENCE (1939) in a collaborative volume with four other poets, privately printed in Belleville. Although she never married, Clara carried on a close and fulfilling correspondence before the war with an American she referred to as "John." The two never met because she feared disappointing him with her disabilities. During the war, Clara volunteered as a book critic for the local newspaper, the PRESTONIAN and wrote a Red Cross column called "Red Cross Reminders." As a sign of her compassionate nature, she also conducted a personal mission of mercy which won her some renown: to every relative of an unaccounted-for soldier, she sent a copy of her poem "Missing." Ever frustrated by her physical constraints, Clara fell into a depressive state, but after she began to regain feeling in her legs and when her back and fingers began to straighten, her faith in God was renewed and a visit to Lyndhurst rehabilitation centre was finally possible. After six weeks at Lyndhurst, and hours of painful and exhausting exercise, Clara was able to spend her first weekend alone in Toronto. With a lighter and more mobile wheelchair, she took a road-trip with a friend through Ontario, with stops at Manitoulin Island and Providence Bay in Sudbury. Her autobiography, LADY IN ARMS, for which she was seeking a publisher in 1951, remains in manuscript in her papers at Wilfrid Laurier University. She also published a book of songs entitled TIP TOE TUNES, intended for very young children. She composed the 1967 Centennial Year Hymn for Canadian churches and wrote "Constant Flame," a play for the 50th Anniversary of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. In 1991, two years before her death, Clara was presented with the Order of Ontario. Ms. Bernhardt died on 1 May 1993 at the Freeport Health Center in Kitchener and her ashes were buried at Preston Cemetery.

      Bernhardt, Clara. (2018). SFU Digitized Collections. Retrieved 12 August 2018, from https://digital.lib.sfu.ca/ceww-632/bernhardt-clara

  • Sources 
    1. [S655] Vit - ON - Birth Registration, 515142 (1911), Clara May Theurer Bernhardt.
      Clara May Theurer Bernhardt b. 16 Jun 1911 1.30 pm corner of Hamilton & Lowther d/o Arthur Robert Bernhardt (hardware merchant) & Ida May Theurer, married Aug. 1908

    2. [S57] Vit - ON - Birth Registration.
      Name:Clara May Theurer Bernhardt Date of Birth:18 Jun 1911 Gender:Female Birth Place:Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Father's name:Arthur Robert Bernhardt Mother's name:Ida May Theurer

    3. [S239] Cemetery - ON, Waterloo, Cambridge - Preston CC#6335 Cemetery Internet Link .
      [Pillow marker] [BERNHARDT] Doris-1910 -----/ Clara-1911-1993/ Kathryn-1916-1971.

    4. [S4] Vit - ON - Marriage Registration.
      Name:Arthur Bernhardt Age:27 Birth Date:abt 1881 Marriage Date:25 Aug 1908 Marriage County or District:Waterloo Father:Peter Bernhardt Mother:Caroline Weigh Spouse:Ida Theurer Spouse's Age:22 Spouse Birth Date:abt 1886 Spouse Father:Frank Theurer Spouse Mother:Katie Bohmer