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Honourable Eric Berntson
May 16, 1941 - September 23, 2018
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<div itemprop="description">It is with deep sorrow and heartbreak that I announce the passing of my love and best friend, The Honourable Eric Arthur Berntson, who peacefully passed away on Sunday,September 23 at the age of 77 in Ottawa, ON. <br> <br>Eric was predeceased by his parents Art and Jenny Berntson and by his inlaws Nicholas and Helen Trafananko. He was also predeceased by his brothers Butch and Dave, a son Roland and a grandson Joshua. <br> <br>Eric is survived by his dear and faithful love of his life, Joanie Berntson, who spent every day and night at the nursing home with him, after nearly thirty years of marriage. <br> <br>He is survived by his children whom he dearly loved, daughters LeeAnne (son Tyrell) and Kira, and his son Eric (Ben) and his wife Teuta and granddaughter Nissa. <br> <br>He is also survived by his brothers Bud, Glenn (Sharon), and Dennis (Maureen) and his sisters Ellen (Downey), Fran (Dennis), Marj (George,dec.) , and Merle ( Jim) . <br> <br>He leaves to mourn with his passing his nieces and nephews of the Berntson and Larson clans. <br>Surviving him too are Joan’s brothers, Dr. Harold Trafananko (Nadia) and their daughters and Bob Trafananko (Sandy) and by his two special nephews and Godsons, Nicholas and Rob Trafananko. <br> <br>Eric had an outstanding career serving Canada in a multitude of ways. He first enlisted in the Royal Canadian Airforce and then flew Banshees with the Royal Canadian Navy and ended his military career flying T-33s with the Royal Canadian Airforce. <br> <br>Eventually Eric was led to a political life. In the province of Saskatchewan he led negotiating teams and developed strong business relationships and friendships across the world. Some of his portfolios were Deputy Premier, Provincial Secretary, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Agriculture, Crown Management, Sask Power, Crown Investment Corp, Sask Expo ’86 Corp and many, many more portfolios. <br> <br>In the Senate of Canada he served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He chaired the Agricultural and Forestry Committee and was a member of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs Committees in addition to many other responsibilities. <br> <br>Eric was a fundraiser extraordinaire. Some of his pet projects that he and Joan worked on were Operation Come Home, Saskatchewan Literacy Foundation. Committee to Promote Literacy in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Science Centre. Diefenbaker Society and the Whitespruce Youth Treatment Centre among many others. <br> <br>Eric was awarded “Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee Medal”. “Her Majesty’s 125th Anniversary Medal”, “Her Majesty’s 25th Anniverary Medal”. The American Legion’s “Canadian Friendship Award” and along with his wife was awarded a Lifetime Membership in the Learning Disabilities Association, among many other honours. <br> <br>Eric was ahead of his time with his entrepreneurial spirit, from a translation technology in the 70’s and 80’s to modern translation technologies that exist today. Saskatchewan and Canada was always open for business when served by Eric Berntson. <br> <br>It is said of an older person dying is like a library burning down. Eric could tell you how to run a nuclear reactor and explain the grid system of Sask Power. He could trade cattle with Eastern European countries where they knew little English but he always knew the value of a handshake. He was highly respected by Mr. Haruna and Mr.Tamakawa of Hitachi of Japan and at the passing of Mr. Haruna, Eric was the only English person invited to write a passage in the book published of Mr Haruna’s tributes and accomplishments. Even by Japanese standards it was a great honour to be bestowed on his Canadian friend. <br> <br>It didn’t matter who you were whether the President of SED System’s. or President of Calian Technology, Harvard Developments or the caretaker in the Senate, he respected them all and was an honourable man to the end. As Terry O’Malley said, “Eric was never bitter with the “outrageous fortune” that hit his career and health. He was a character indeed and a man of character.” <br> <br>When speaking with his friends Leier and Swayze, cause that’s what Eric called them, they said. “Eric Berntson was a patriot to the end. He served his country as a Navy Airman , as Deputy Premier of his province and Senator for Canada. Throughout his journey he never forgot his roots and was faithful to his colleagues.” He learned who his friends really were and had many over this country and many from London to Bulgaria to Romania and China and Japan. Terry Leier said of Eric. The greatest characteristic of his personal and political life was his loyalty, intelligence and authenticity. <br> <br>Eric was predeceased by his faithful and loving Dog Guide, Mitchell in July of this year. In their memory, if you wish, a donation may be made to the Lions Foundation to keep supporting the blind and their dog guides. Their website can be located at and then go to memorial donations. Otherwise a cheque can be mailed to Lions Foundation of Canada, 152 Wilson Street, P.O. Box 907, Oakville, ON, and L6J5E8. <br> <br>Eric spent his last 11 months at Medex Care Home. The nursing staff provided him superior care.He was very fond of the physio team who encouraged him to exercise and assisted him with walking. There are other departments who provided excellent services but just too many to mention. His caregivers, the best by far. were Allyson T. and Marilyn. They had an innate ability to speak calmly, throw in some humour and talk to him with respect. RJ was with him in the end. Thanks to the medical team of Dr. O’Byrne, Dr. Halliday. Nurse Aurica and geriatric nurse Timah. Special thanks to the Director of Care. Natalie Vienneau for lending a shoulder to all of my issues. This made Eric’s and my time at the home much more pleasant. <br> <br>I can’t go without mentioning our longtime friend Helen Krzyzewski who has been there through thick and thin. We are grateful for all she’s done and continues to do for me. <br> <br>A private service was held at the Pinecrest Remembrance Centre in Ottawa lead by Rev. James Hurd from Parkwood Presbyterian Church. <br> <br>Eric has been cremated and at his request, has chosen not to have a funeral or memorial service. Online condolences can be made at <br> <br>Rest in Peace My Love <br></div>