The family of Richard (Rick) Wayne Bernt, Jr. is mourning his sudden and tragic death on Monday, May 24, in Elk Grove. He had just celebrated his 63rd birthday on May 20 by visiting his father, Richard (Dick) W. Bernt, and step-mother, Claudia, in Lincoln. His son, Brandon, daughter-in-law, Sherri, and six grandchildren (Brayden, Evalet, River, Savana, Vander, and Oliver) are devastated. As are his sister, Sheryl Aguilera, his niece, Maria Ochoa, and her children Jaeda, Julian, and Richard (Gio). Rick’s aunt, Beverley Jumper and his cousins, Cindy, Jon, Joan, and Geoff, share the sense of loss. Yvonne Jimenez is the surviving widow of Rick’s half-brother, Bruce Baxter Stinson. Rick was also predeceased by his mother, Irma Tavitas Bernt, his grandparents, Cecil and Verna Bernt, and his uncles, David R. Bernt, and Ron Jumper.
Rick was born in Sacramento on May 20, 1958, and spent his life in Sacramento and Elk Grove. He graduated from William Daylor High School. He served in the U.S. Air Force, where he was trained as a cook. For many years after leaving the service, he worked landscaping jobs. He and his male relatives shared a love of plants and gardening. But, his military training eventually led him back to cooking, at Elk Grove Convalescent Hospital, where he worked for 22 years in the kitchen or housekeeping. He bonded with many patients. His co-workers looked forward to finding his homemade banana bread in the break room.