Richard L. Bernard

Richard L. Bernard

Champaign – Richard "Dick" Lawson Bernard, 86, of Champaign passed away Thursday (Dec. 20, 2012) in Danville.

He was born to Clarence and Ilda Bernard in Detroit, Mich., in 1926.

Dick was an internationally recognized soybean research geneticist and worked for 34 years for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Soybean Research Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was curator of the USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Crop Sciences.

After his official retirement in 1988 from the USDA, he continued his work, switching his focus from field soybeans to developing improved vegetable-type soybeans known as edamame. His Gardensoy varieties were widely distributed to home gardeners and small vegetable farmers across the United States and overseas.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Urbana, the American Legion, and the Moose and Elks lodges. He enjoyed dancing and was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Force.

Dick is survived by his sister, four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother.

Visitation will be at 1 p.m. on Dec. 29 at Heath & Vaughn Funeral Home, 201 N. Elm St., Champaign, with funeral services following at 2 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made to the "Richard L Bernard Soybean Improvement Award" in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Condolences may be offered online at

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