MADISON, Wis. — Bernard “Bernie” Wentworth, age 87, peacefully passed away at his home on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. He was born on Feb. 16, 1935, in Freedom, Maine, the son of Wilbert and Florence Wentworth. He married Alice Trocchi on Nov. 12, 1960, in Bridgewater, Mass., at St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

Bernie had a rewarding home life growing up in rural Maine, where his family raised chickens and dairy cattle. He received his undergraduate degree in poultry science from the University of Maine in 1957, completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in avian physiology at the University of Massachusetts in 1960 and 1963, respectively, and at the completion of his doctoral degree, Bernie accepted a research physiologist position at the U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, stationed at the University of Massachusetts, where he was also an adjunct faculty member.

Bernie was a scholar, and his profession was very rewarding to him and others. In 1969, Bernie joined the Poultry Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an associate professor and was promoted to professor in 1973. In 1980, he received a joint appointment as professor in the Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology Program. Bernie developed an innovative technique to enhance more successful turkey reproduction that contributed greatly to the success and vitality of the poultry industry.

Bernie published many research articles on avian reproductive physiology, endocrinology, and embryology. Bernie owns several U.S. patents with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. He also worked with the NASA Space program from 1996 through 2009, studying the effects of microgravity on vertebrate development and reproduction in space microgravity.

Besides conducting research in poultry reproduction, endocrinology, and embryology, he developed and co-taught a course in avian physiology. Additionally, Bernie developed the department’s largest-enrollment course, “Biology and Appreciation of Companion Animals,” in which he introduced non-biology majors to the beautiful world of biology as seen through his eyes. Among all of his work, he really enjoyed mentoring many undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students.

He chaired the Poultry Science Department from 1985 until it merged with the Department of Meat and Animal Sciences in 1996. Bernie was associate chair of the new Department of Animal Science until 2004. He chaired or served on numerous College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and university committees; among all his service to the university, Dr. Wentworth particularly enjoyed being an academic adviser to many UW-Madison undergraduate and graduate students, helping them navigate their degree and career paths, and he undoubtedly made a big difference in their lives and our world.

Dr. Wentworth’s service, training, and mentorship went beyond the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a former president of the Federation of Animal Science Societies, president of the Poultry Science Association, and has many professional honors, including the College of Agriculture Distinguished Service Award. Bernie was elected a fellow of the Poultry Science Association in 1996.

As chair of the Coordinating Council of the Midwest Poultry Consortium, Bernie was the driving force behind the development of “The Midwest Poultry Science Center of Excellence.” Now in its 27th year, the curriculum center coordinates industry and faculty instructors from 13 participating universities for six poultry-specific courses and trains 38 selected students with three courses each summer as well as industry-provided internships.

Bernie was a charter member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. He served as president of the Poultry Science Association, associate editor of the Journal of Poultry Science, and associate editor of Biology of Reproduction. He was also a member of the Endocrine Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alpha Zeta, Gamma Sigma Delta, and Sigma Xi.

Bernie also served in the Medical Services Corp in the U.S. Army Reserves, ultimately attaining the rank of a full bird colonel; after over 30 years of service, he retired in 1988. He was assigned to the 5045th USAR School, serving as director of enlisted instruction for the state of Wisconsin. In military medical administration, he taught Middle East military operations for the Command and General Staff college course.

Family was most important to Bernie. He was a very devoted father and husband. Bernie loved the outdoors and nature, sharing it with his wife Alice and their children Cesca, Mark, Dave and Tricia. He was so happy outside: gardening, taking care of the yard, planting flowers, building and putting up birdhouses, or tending his honeybees. He could name any bird he heard, identify its characteristics and tell you something unique about that species.

Bernie loved to hunt and taught all of his children hunters’ safety and how to track deer. Earlier in his life, he tried to spend every fall hunting with his sons in Wisconsin or, if possible, with his brother and sons in Maine. He also enjoyed taking the family camping in remote parts of Wisconsin when the kids were young, and this created many great memories.

Bernie was an expert working with his hands, and there was nothing that he could not fix or build. He put an addition on the house and conducted many repairs on cars and equipment, teaching all of his kids how to do many of these things and inevitably helping them (and some of their friends) with their vehicles over the years.

Bernie had a high demand for quality in himself and his efforts, yet he was humble and modest in his success. He treated all individuals with whom he had contact with dignity and respect. He was honest with himself and with others.

Bernie really enjoyed sports and played basketball in high school and baseball at the University of Maine. He strongly supported his children’s sporting endeavors (figure skating, hockey, baseball, soccer and gymnastics) and thoroughly enjoyed watching them participate in their chosen sports. Bernie was president of the West Side Flyer Hockey Association and president of the Dane County Youth Hockey Association. He enjoyed hosting friends, family, and numerous pre-game meals for high school athletes at the house. Bernie was also an avid fan of UW Athletics, especially hockey, football, baseball and basketball, and enjoyed watching the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers.

Throughout his life, Bernie was devoted to his family, who will always recall and dearly miss his wisdom, intelligence, kind nature, humility, humor and love. Instilling his insatiable curiosity and love of nature, gardening, and beekeeping, he often worked side-by-side on home repair or gardening projects, imparting his wisdom about life to his children and grandchildren as they worked. Bernie’s life was characterized by a deep sense of decency and duty, along with an enjoyment of and profound caring for his family.

Bernie is survived by his wife, Alice Wentworth; his brother, Clayton Wentworth; his children, Francesca (David) Supple and grandson Colin Supple; Mark (Susan Mickelberg) Wentworth and grandchildren Morgan Wentworth and Tristan Wentworth; David (Jessica O’Brien) Wentworth and grandchildren Clayton Wentworth, and Julia Wentworth; and Patricia (Darin) Ballweg and grandchildren Gabrielle Ballweg, Allison Ballweg and Garrett Ballweg.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Cchurch, 602 Everglade Drive, Madison, on Friday, Oct. 28, at 11 a.m. with Father Bart Timmerman presiding. Visitation will be held at the church on Friday from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass. The Mass will also be live-streamed via the following link: www.youtube.com/c/StThomasAquinasChurchMadison/.

Memorial donations may be made in Bernie’s name to a charity of your choice.

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