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Remembering Bernard S. Kolbus Jr.
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Bernard (Bernie) S. Kolbus, Jr., 77 of Kerrville, Texas passed away peacefully, at home, after a long battle with Huntington’s Disease. Bernie was born in Hammond, Indiana on November 7, 1942. He ran away with the carnival in 1959 and never looked back. He was a true Showman and was part of the Reithoffer family for more than 54 years. He held many positions on the Show starting as a ride operator, serving as General Manager and then Transportation and DOT Director until 2013, when HD took over and made it too difficult to travel. He was a loyal friend to Pat Reithoffer III and stood by him even when Pat’s father fired all of the help and left it to Pat and Bernie to move the show. It wasn’t until they had their own kids that they could laugh about it. He was a hands on teacher to those who would follow in his footsteps, a leader who led by example, a good listener (sometimes not until after the fact!) and a motivator, who sometimes used a swift kick when necessary. For years he was a huge support to Mary Ann Whitely and a second father to Suzi, Kristal and beloved Trisha Reithoffer. He was a proud Godfather to Ryan Reithoffer and Dragon father to Patrick IV. He loved his family on the road, including his concession family, (but not officially until BK worked for them), and when he last visited the show, not only was he proud to still be greeted as “Boss”, he appreciated the kindness of everyone including his West Virginia family. He was especially good with the younger generation. He often took them to lunch for sushi and sake and shared his tales of adventure and his wisdom. He was a loyal and supportive friend to those he loved.

Mindy, Bernie’s wife of 30 years was the love of his life and those were often the only words he would say in a day as the disease progressed. He was a true romantic, he kept all of the cards she gave him when they first got together and she read those to him during the last few days of his life. He gave Mindy 30 dozen yellow roses for her 30 Birthday and always, often for no reason th gave her beautiful flower arrangements and cards to remind her of his love. Because he led by example, BK would often pick up flowers at the grocery store for his mom and now does that for his girlfriend Jacquelyn. Bernie loved spending time with his daughter Kim and her family, he especially loved Thanksgiving in New York. She gave him a gold cross years ago and he never took it off so he could hold her close to him. He was so proud of his son BK and loved playing and collecting Brio trains, Beanie Babies, hockey cards and Legos with him. He took BK everywhere with him, never wanting to be far away from him. When BK turned 18, Bernie and BK got a tattoo together representing their bond and legacy. He also enjoyed building his HO scale carnival midway, many of the rides he built himself from a kit. When he wasn’t building his midway, he was swimming or playing with BK or toying with his pick up truck. He loved sushi and sake, there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t eat. He found a place in Kerrville he loved and they treated him like family, fixing him anything he liked. He truly loved his entire family, those near and far and always let it be known he was there for them.

Bernie was Past President (1993) and Gold Card Member of the Miami Showmen’s Association, and a former member of various Showmen Associations and Safety organizations associated with the industry.

He was preceded in death by his parents Bernard Sr. and Violet Kolbus, sisters Cathy Shaw and Judy Williams. Bernie is survived by his loving wife Melinda (Mindy) Kolbus, son Bernard (BK) Kolbus, III and his love Jacquelyn, daughter Kim (Vinnie) Colonna, son James Darrow, sister Carol Jean Maurer (his loving Bullwinkle), 3 grandchildren, several nieces, nephews and their families, his Swedish son Simon and his in laws who loved him dearly.

No services are planned at this time.

Bernie’s brain was donated to the Harvard Brain Resource Center. The tissue will be sent to research facilities worldwide to aid in finding a cure for Huntington’s Disease.

Mindy and family would like to thank the awesome team at Peterson Hospice, who took care of Bernie for over a year. The RN’s, CNA’s, Social Worker, Daily Care scheduler and volunteers were all wonderful and so caring. They were a tremendous help to Mindy and always treated Bernie with respect. Mindy would have been lost without them. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking friends and family to donate to Peterson Hospice (a non-profit), 250 Cully Drive, Kerrville, Tx. in his memory.
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