Feb. 28, 1969 Clearlake Lake County California, USA
Bernard, or Barney as he was known later in life, was born in Medford Township, Walsh County, ND. His father, Ray, was from Indiana and his mother, Essie P. (Converse), was from Michigan. Barney had a sister, Helen H., born in 1908 and brother, Elbert H., born in 1911.
By 1920, the family had moved to Castroville, CA., where Ray took up farming to support the family.
In 1928, Barney found employment as a clerk at the Shell Co. in Salinas, but by 1930; the single, twenty-four year old, was working as a Traffic Officer for the City of Salinas Police. He was uniformed, armed and outfitted with a motorcycle that sported red lights and siren.
In those days, the Division of Motor Vehicles, pursuant to the Vehicle Act of 1923, was authorized to appoint inspectors and traffic officers to enforce the Act; these personnel were later spun off in 1947 into the Department of the California Highway Patrol!
Barney went on to marry Florence McLaughlin, and they set up house in Castroville, later moving to Salinas to be closer to the job.
In 1932 he was heading to a call on his motorcycle, when a motorist failed to yield; causing Barney to loose control, skid and crash into the parked car. Seriously injured, he was taken to a San Francisco Hospital, where he would undergo two operations to save his injured leg. Unfortunately, it was beyond saving and had to be amputated.
Barney, the consummate lawman, didn’t let the loss of a mere leg stop him, and after rehabilitation and fitting of an artificial leg, he returned to duty! In 1941 he was a Sergeant wit the department, according to the city directory for that year.
There are many colorful stories about Barney. He was from the “Old School”, hired before two-way radios were fully in use and when most of the training was on-the-job. He was poorly paid, under-equipped and seemingly overworked. Even with one leg, he never faltered and stayed the course.
He left the department and moved to Clear Lake, (Lake County), to be near his parents. He died in 1969 and is buried in the same cemetery as his Wife, Father and Mother.