Bennie LeRoy Jesfield, 68, of Berne passed away on Monday, November 27, 2017 at home. He was born on May 31, 1949 in Baker, Montana to Ben and Barbara Jesfield. He was married in 1979 to Barbara Cowfer. He was then married on October 4, 1997 in San Marcos, California to Wanda Sprunger.
He graduated from Billings Senior High School in 1967. During his tour in Vietnam (1967-1970), he was an illustrator for the 221st Signal Company Southeast Asia Pictorial Center. Stateside duty included graphic arts, set design, and performing arts for the Third Army Soldier Show of Fort McPherson, Georgia. After three years of active duty, he illustrated at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard during the 1970s in Bremerton, Washington. Recently, he was interviewed by PBS39 in Fort Wayne regarding his military service in Vietnam. The interview aired in the Fort Wayne area before the series “Vietnam War”.
In 2004, he and his wife moved to Belfair, Washington to be closer to his family. In 2012, they moved to Berne to be closer to her mother and other family members. During their years in Berne, they were honored to have over 150 of their photos displayed on Channel ABC 21 WPTA and WFFT Fox local weather reports from Fort Wayne. He could be heard saying over and over, “I love Berne!”
He was blessed and privileged to take the Honor Flight to Washington, DC in September 2017. He was given the honor of helping to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The trip was a highlight of his life.
He was a world-renowned artist who specialized in portraits. Many of his paintings had hidden messages or scripture in them. He was grateful for all of the blessings in his life, but he was most grateful for his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It was his greatest privilege to share it with anyone he met. His motto was “Living in HIS Will”.
He is survived by his wife of Berne; daughter, Angela Faith; three step-children, Marc (Tekoa) Chilcote; Jennifer Chilcote; and Danielle Chilcote-Beeson; brother, Jim (Judy) Jesfield; four sisters, Phyllis (Jerry) Page; Chris (Gordon) Johnson; Sylvia Steen; and Kandis (Art) McCandless; mother-in-law, Emma Irene Sprunger; brother-in-law, Allen (Gloria) Sprunger; two sisters-in-law, Dianna Sprunger Herman; and Willa K. Sprunger; three grandchildren, Jeremiah Beeson; Emma Chilcote; and Marlee Chilcote; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Visitation will be four hours prior to the 2:00 p.m. funeral service on Thursday, November 30 at First Church of the Nazarene in Berne. Officiating will be Pastor Wayne Steury. Burial will be at MRE Cemetery in Berne.
Military graveside rites will be provided by American Legion Berne Post #468.
Memorials may be made to First Church of the Nazarene in Berne.
Arrangements provided by Yager-Kirchhofer Funeral Home in Berne. Sign the guestbook online at www.yagerkirchhofer.com.