Cover photo for Bernon Chamberlin's Obituary
Bernon Chamberlin Profile Photo
1926 Bernon 2024

Bernon Chamberlin

March 23, 1926 — January 10, 2024

March 23, 1926-January 10, 2024

Bernon "Bernie" Chamberlin left this world January 10, 2024, in Rochester, New York. He was 97.


The only child of Helen and Weldon Chamberlin, Bernie was born and raised in Newburgh, New York. After graduating high school he enlisted in the US Navy. As a young recruit he volunteered for an undisclosed, hazardous mission that ultimately took him behind enemy lines in occupied China to install radio equipment in anticipation of the Allied invasion of Japan. He served stateside in the US Army during the Korean war.


Bernie had a lifelong love of learning. A combination of educational opportunities while in the military and GI benefits after the War allowed him to attend a number of colleges to study engineering and architecture.


After receiving his degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he was hired as an architect by the firm of J. Russell White in Albany, New York. He remained there for his entire career, working his way up to become the firm's widely admired senior partner under the name Dodge, Chamberlin, Luzine, Weber — a practice that continues today in Troy, New York, as Mosaic Associates Architects. He was a generous mentor to several generations of architects and professionals in New York's Capital District.


An avid skier, one of his many career highlights included designing dozens of sports facilities to ready Lake Placid for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Among other things, they affixed nets on Whiteface to catch downhill racers and figured out how to design biathlon targets from scratch.


He was the husband of Lorraine "Lorrie" Pray of Whitehall, New York. Married in 1949, they shared a deeply devoted and loving marriage for 74 years. Lorrie was the shining center of his life. He always held that she was the source of all that was good in his world. As he put it in one of the many thoughtful notes he'd leave for her, "What do I say for a full and happy life? A full and happy life, only because you chose to share yours with me."


After retiring in 1991, Bernie and Lorrie started in on adventurous travel regimen. Their journeys took them to the Baltics, China, India, Nepal, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, and throughout Europe. There were annual skiing trips to the Alps and the American west with a close circle of friends. He skied well into his 80s, delighted to take advantage of free skiing at nearly every resort.


Bernie's life was as well lived as it was long. He had a curious mind and wide-ranging intelligence. He was an eager reader — juggling several books at a time — an outstanding writer, and well known as a gifted speaker. His toasts at family gatherings are the stuff of legend.


He was modest, honest, and conscientious. Rigorous and stoic by nature, with little use for puffery, he was also exceptionally gracious, funny and charming. Wherever he landed he had an uncanny ability to build a community around him, to make meaningful connections with people, to be curious about and engaged in the lives of others. Bernie was a great role model for his family, always happy to share his life stories, writings and beautifully crafted scrapbooks with grandchildren.


He is survived by his wife Lorraine; daughter Loron (and John) Oster, sons Bruce Chamberlin (and David Glassman), and Keith (and Florence) Chamberlin; grandchildren Rachel Oster (and Nick Kjolhede), Lorena (and Scott) Pellegrini, John (and Samantha) Oster, Eli Chamberlin (and Heather Hafey), Charlie Oster (and Lindsay Randall); and great grandchildren Tomas, Teddy, Francesca, Charlie and Angus.


The family would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Rochester Regional Health Hospice and the entire staff at Rochester's Episcopal Church Home, where Bernie spent his last days and Lorrie still lives. Their skill and the genuine care they provided made the very best of a difficult time. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Bernon Chamberlin to Rochester Regional Health Hospice (RRHgive.org/giving), Episcopal Senior Life Communities (EpiscopalSeniorLife.org) and the Choroideremia Research Foundation (CureCHM.org).


A memorial service will be held at 12 PM on January 27th at the Episcopal Church Home Chapel, 505 Mt. Hope Avenue Rochester, NY 14620. He will be interred at the Saratoga National Cemetery.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bernon Chamberlin, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, January 27, 2024

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