September 30, 1932 ~ October 5, 2020
Born in: Oak Ridge, Louisiana
Resided in: Fremont, California
Bernard Blueford Sr. passed away on October 5, 2020 at the age of 88. Beloved husband of almost 50 years to Joyce Blueford and loving father to Barbara Martinez (Jose), Linda Baca (Donel), and Bernard Blueford Jr. from a previous marriage to Sammie Blueford. Born in Oak Ridge, Louisiana on Sept 30, 1932 to Luke and Jerlin Blueford. His early life was one of hardship and poverty. His mother would always tease him that if it had not rained the night before, he would have been born in a cottonfield.
He was brought up in the segregated south and the school for blacks was 5 miles away. Most of the time he had to help the family as a sharecropper tending the cottonfields at an early age. Bernard was one of 7 children that grew to adults and his father was told to leave the farm by the plantation owner. He got his first pair of shoes at 12, walking with potato sacks wrapped on his feet. He had not learned how to read or write, and always was in awe of a black man in the community, who could read a paper, and vowed to himself that one day he will be able to read.
Bernard arrived in California in 1951, and it was like coming to the promised land. He finally would go to school to learn how to read and write starting at age 21 while starting a new family. It took him another 4 years to finally learn how to read, and a few more years to get his high school diploma. His AA degree from Ohlone College in 1981 was a milestone that he thought he would never achieve. Throughout his early life he owned a grocery store and Papa’s Record store in Oakland, while working full time.
He worked for General Motors for 30 years, first in Oakland and then in the newly built plant in Fremont (1962). He worked in the paint department and became foreman. Bernard was known throughout GM as an employee who would come up with money saving ideas. GM would give employees a percentage of the cost savings. Then in an unusual move for GM, he became a time study engineer, because of his innate ability with numbers and love of efficiently. In 1974 he moved to Fremont with his wife, Joyce and has lived there ever since.
After he retired from GM with 30 years, he started a new career with one of his loves, cars. He became a used car dealer in San Leandro called “Bluefords Cars” having a 200 car lot. He was noted as a dealer with honest and integrity and had many family customers. He would also carry his own loans,making it affordable for people. He closed the car lot after 20 years so he could take care of his aging mother Jerlin, who passed at 97.
Bernard then decided to open up another car lot in Fremont to help pay for a new commercial building to house the Math Science Nucleus, a nonprofit devoted to science education for children founded by his wife, Joyce. Bernard’s love for education helped support the many initiatives that MSN sponsored. California State Senator, Robert Wieckowski commented that “Bernard was the best landlord – ever.”
Bernard traveled with his wife on many adventures around the world including Europe, Russia, and Africa, helping scientists and children. He enjoyed their home in Ponza, Italy where they would spend many vacations with his father-in-law, Alfonso Raia.
Bernard is survived by 5 grandchildren Kimberly and Kelly Martinez (deceased), Danielle and Dorel Baca, and Stephon Blueford and 7 great grandchildren. He is survived by 1 brother, Edward and preceded by 1 brother, Harmon(Leola) and 4 sisters: Bertha Williams, BellBullock, Jerline Williams, and Genieve Fowler). He will join his friend of 40 years, Walt Fries, for morning coffee.