Bernard "Bernie" J. Guida, loving husband, father and grandfather, died quietly at home on Thursday, August 6 after a long, courageous battle from complications due to diabetes.

He was born on March 8, 1934 and was the devoted son of Alexander, Jr., and Lottie (Bish) Guida of New Britain. Bernie attended The Gunnery School where he was a standout player in football and hockey, and rowed on the crew. He attended the University of Connecticut where he earned a degree in agricultural management.

His working life was centered around the family business, Guida-Seibert Dairy Co., of New Britain with his father, mother and brothers, helping to build and manage the business successfully throughout his career. He managed Elton Dairy in Bristol for many years before the branch operation was consolidated to the main plant. He retired in 1998 from the position of president and CEO of the company.

Honesty, fairness and level headed decision making were the hallmarks of his management style as many employees and business associates can attest. Bernie was an avid outdoorsman. Hunting, fishing and just being out in nature with family and friends was a lifelong challenge and enjoyment for him. He especially cherished fishing and hunting outings with his grandchildren, as introducing them to nature and the outdoors was important to him.

Family travels to the far reaches of the country was also something he always appreciated. Bernie loved spending time at his house in New Hampshire and cherished the many friendships he made throughout the years there. His porch hammock overlooking the lake was a favorite spot for relaxation and peace. He also became close with many dear friends in Florida and always enjoyed spending time with them, sharing proud stories about his family.

Bernie also had a lifelong passion for all things mechanical and was a natural mechanic and driver. His love of fine Buicks, John Deere tractors and faithful Ford trucks is widely known and passed on to his son and grandsons. He was a fair carpenter as well, a consummate handyman and a gifted gardener. His love of the land followed his family's heritage.

Bernie's grandest achievement and source of great pride for him was raising his family with wife Phyllis, watching them grow, learn and spread their wings to become successful adults all blessed with his strong work ethic, integrity and consideration for others. His love and concern for his wife, children and grandchildren was always paramount, and he guided others by his own example. Above all, he was a teacher of all whom he mentored.

His constant message over the past few years has been to "do it now," you just don't know what tomorrow will bring.” So live well friends, don't wait for retirement.

He leaves behind his devoted wife of 51 years, Phyllis, daughter Victoria Hobson, daughter Lisa Friend and husband Richard of East Northport, N.Y., and son Patrick Guida and wife Linda of West Boylston, Mass. He was pre-deceased by daughter Deborah Guida in 1964. A loving grandfather, he leaves granddaughters Rachel, Samantha and Abigail, and grandsons Nicholas, Nathaniel and Zachary. His faithful dog, Munson, will surely miss him.

The eldest of five children, Bernie also leaves behind sister Lorraine Zydanowicz and her husband Henry, sister Francis Guida, brother Alexander Guida III, and brother Michael Guida and his wife Judy, along with 11 nieces and nephews.