HAMPSTEAD — Bernard Robert “Bernie” Zikos, 82, was released from his earthly bonds Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at his home. His passing was unexpected and caught many off guard even though his health had been declining in the past several years.
Bernie was born Dec. 21, 1938, in East Cleveland, Ohio, to the late John Zikos and Helen Szcerbanowicz Zikos. His early years were spent in Cleveland. He played football while in high school. Cleveland was where he met and married Jean Marie. They moved to Raleigh, where he worked for Exide Corporation for 30 years. During these years, Bernie worked his way to superintendent of production. Bernie was not only successful at his job, but he cemented many a friendship, which continued after he and Jean moved to the Hampstead area in North Carolina.
He was active in his church and became a member of the Knights of Columbus, which he continued in Hampstead at All Saints Catholic Church. One of Bernie’s proudest accomplishments while in Raleigh was the building of his home. He may not have done all of the work, but assisted in so many aspects of the project that he felt it was his labor of love!
After retiring from Exide, he and Jean moved to Hampstead. They lived at Coastal Plantation in Hampstead, where Bernie became a regular in the community activities, cooking breakfast once a month on Saturday, joining the bowling team and always being there for anyone who needed help. This is where Bernie shined! Anyone who speaks of Bernie uses words such as caring, helpful, kind, giving and always with a smile and a joke! There is another way Bernie helped — he donated blood to the American Red Cross. I feel he may have done this while living in Raleigh, also. His blood type was always needed. Over the years, he had given so many units of blood that the American Red Cross acknowledged his generosity with presenting him with a pin that named how many units he had donated. I think it was 60.
Bernie did not only help just those at Coastal Plantation, but also at his church, All Saints Catholic Church. Due to his carpenter skills he helped build an altar. He also made a manger for the Christmas nativity. At All Saints, he continued his membership with the Knights of Columbus. At Easter this year, he was thrilled he was able to attend the service in his car, as walking had become difficult for him.
After his wife Jean passed away, Bernie found his way to the Pender County Humane Society. In true-Bernie style, he started volunteering! Volunteer he did! He walked dogs, he picked up needed supplies, drove dogs and cats to Raleigh for spay and neutering (a day that started at 5:30 a.m. and might end about 6:30 p.m.). He was always at our fundraisers — spaghetti dinners, Fur Ball, golf tournaments, etc. The Sam Club Fundraiser was one of his favorites. He would cook hot dogs to “give away” for a donation. The hotdogs became known as “Bernie Dogs.” Bernie was such an integral part of the Humane Society that was elected vice president, a post he held until he retired.
Bernie touched so many lives during his time on this earth! None more than his adopted family, Don and Gloria Johnson and Faye and Bill Coddington. Many a special occasion found Bernie celebrating with us. He celebrated Christmas with us this past year never suspecting that would be the last celebration of any kind with Bernie. Our holidays will not be the same without Bernie to share them with us.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at noon, Thursday, May 6, at All Saints Catholic Church, Hampstead, with interment immediately following in Sea Lawn Memorial Park. A fellowship time will follow the interment at Coastal Estates Club House. A time to share our favorite memories of Bernie.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of Bernie’s favorite charities, Pender County Humane Society, P.O. Box 626, Burgaw, NC 28425; All Saints Catholic Church, 18737 US 17 Highway, Hampstead, NC 28443; or charity of your choice.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.