Bernard Robert Gregoire, "Bernie" or "BR", peacefully passed away with his daughter by his side on September 7th, 2017 in Bigfork, MT. He was 88 years young.
He was born April 21st, 1929 in Great Falls, Montana to George & Florence Gregoire. He was the youngest of 4 boys.
At the age of 16 he began his journey as a pilot; he got his license at the age of 17 & bought his first airplane at 19. In 1949 he served in the Navy for a few short months before joining the Air Force from 1949-1952. Bernie worked for & eventually took over G.G. Gregoire & Sons as a Texaco consignee. In October of 1965 he married Karen Fahey & had 3 children, Rob Gregoire, Renee Gregoire-Serr and James Gregoire.
His true passion was flying. In his forties he flew every weekend he could from Great Falls to his “cabin” on Swan Lake, announcing his arrival with a low fly-by that thrilled his kids and annoyed his neighbors. In 1988 he moved permanently to his Swan Lake residence, and eventually to a home on the Ferndale airstrip. In his 70's he became a certified flight instructor and in his 80's he was giving his children ulcers by still doing loops and rolls in his high performance “experimental” RV-8 airplane. He frightened & excited many people by taking them for rides in the RV-8 and most said the ride was the highlight of their lives. He was still flying just weeks before his passing. During his 70+ years of flying he piloted over 60 types of aircraft. He was a long-standing member of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and a member of the UFO (United Flying Octogenarians)
His other passion was his children, he taught them all the fun things in life including skiing (on snow and water) snowmobiling, driving, flying, camping, riding horses in the Bob Marshall wilderness, fishing & much, much more.
He is survived by 2 sons, a daughter, 4 grandchildren and his longtime love Punky. He had a fun filled and exciting full life all the way until the end. He was a son, a dad, an uncle & a friend to so many & is missed dearly. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to Angel Flight West in his name.
We will be celebrating his life on sept 23rd at 2pm on the Ferndale air strip, 676 Aero Lane, Bigfork Mt. Everyone is welcome!