Bernard “Bernie” Greenberg, 95

Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Greenberg
Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Greenberg died peacefully on Friday, May 5, at the age of 95.

Greenberg was born in New York City on April 24, 1922. He moved to Brooklyn in the late ‘20s with his family. He attended elementary school and high school in Brooklyn.

Greenberg graduated from Brooklyn College in 1944 and served in the U.S. Air Force as a radio operator in Guam until the war ended.

In 1948, he met his wife Barbara “Barbie” Dickler the couple married in 1949 in New York City.

The couple moved to Lawrence, Kan., soon after, he earned his Ph.D. in Entomology in 1953.

In 1954, Bernie took a position as an assistant professor at The University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago. The Greenbergs moved to Hyde Park in 1957.

Greenberg’s work centered on research into flies as vectors for infectious diseases.

His research led to numerous papers and several books. His first, “Flies and Disease” became the authoritative text on the subject. He then became the modern founder of the science of Forensic Entomology, based on work with the Chicago Police Department and others, and co-authored Entomology and The Law with ex-student John Kunich.

Finally, he did research on the effect of electromagnetic fields on soil arthropods in the early 1970s for the US Navy and later work for the Electric Power Research Institute on measuring the effects of power lines on 80 hives of bees, both projects anticipating later concerns about the effect of man on the environment.

Greenberg had a appreciation for wildlife. He went on Sunday hikes in the forest to appreciate flora and fauna and turn over logs to discover insects inhabited there. According to family, he was well known amongst his grandchildren for hosting the Roach Races: Madagascar hissing cockroaches each 3” long, numbered with white out on their backs and placed in the center of a ring to see which would escape the fastest and be the winner.

Other interests included studying ancient history and music. The Greenbergs were regular attendees at the Chicago Symphony and the Lyric Opera. The couple also enjoyed taking in shows at the Goodman Theatre and Court Theatre Greenberg had a strong commitment to social justice. He and his wife were politically active in the ‘50s and ‘60s marching for civil rights, against the Vietnam War, and helping as they could the campaigns for liberal candidates in the 5th Ward, the City of Chicago, and Congress.

Bernie is survived by his four children, Gary, Linda, Deborah and Daniel, his eleven grandchildren, Benjamin, Rachel, Joshua, Jason, Emily, Matthew, Katherine, Sarah, Zachary, Andrew, and Sasha, and his great-grandchild, Jasper.

For those wishing to make a donation in his honor, please consider supporting the World Wildlife Fund.