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Gerald “Jerry” Richard Bernet, 81, of Valrico, Florida, passed away unexpectedly Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in the presence of his loving Labrador retriever, Rex.

Jerry was born Oct. 5, 1937, in Wauwatosa. He spent much of his childhood in New Glarus, then moved to Baraboo, where he attended Baraboo High School. Following graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving two years primarily in Key West, Florida, and aboard the USS Randolph. While in Key West, he met the love of his life, Maryanne Lawrenson, whom he married on Oct. 8, 1960, in Afton, Missouri. Jerry and Maryanne returned to Baraboo, where they resided for more than 25 years and raised their four children. In 1994, they moved to Coldwater, Michigan, where they resided until Jerry’s retirement in 2002. They subsequently moved to Brandon, Florida, though Maryanne sadly passed away in 2004, not long after their relocation. Jerry continued to live in the Tampa area until his death. He was a longstanding member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elk’s, an active member at the Campo YMCA, and he and Rex were trusted and loving volunteers at the Hawthorne Village Retirement Community in the Alzheimer’s and dementia care unit.

In addition to his loving dog, Jerry is survived by his four children, Mark (Sandra) Bernet of Valrico, Florida; Shelby (Glenn) Baker of Seattle; David (Kathryn) Bernet of Chantilly, Virginia; and, Shawn (Kavitha) Bernet of Medina, Minnesota. He was also blessed with 11 grandchildren, Caitlin, Ryan, and Daniel Bernet; Emma, Jack, and Nell Baker; Madeleine and Meghan Bernet; and Nicholas, Christopher, and Annabelle Bernet.

Those who wish may make a contribution in his name to Paw’s for Friendship, P.O. Box 341378, Tampa, FL, 33694 or visit