The Dillon Herald
Dillon, South Carolina
August 20, 2012
A former well-respected and well-known Dillon pharmacist has died at the age of 85.
Philip Richard “Phil” Bernanke, father of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, died on August 8, 2012 at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he moved after his retirement.
Services were held on Friday, August 10th at Temple Israel in Charlotte with interment in the Hebrew Cemetery.
Bernanke was born in New York on March 13, 1927 to Jonas and Pauline Heiden Bernanke.
Jonas Bernanke was from Austria and had emigrated to this country from Poland. Jonas and Pauline Bernanke arrived at Ellis Island on June 30, 1921.
In 1941, Jonas Bernanke and his family moved to Dillon, where he opened Jay Bee Drug.
Bernanke completed high school in Dillon. After that, he served in the United States Navy during the last year of World War II.
Bernanke graduated from the University of South Carolina in Columbia and received his master’s degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in Directing Theater.
While attending school in Chapel Hill, Bernanke met Edna Friedman of Charlotte. She was attending the women’s college, now known as UNC-Greensboro.
When Edna graduated, she and Bernanke married in 1952. In 1953, they had their first son, Ben.
They moved back to Dillon and Bernanke began “a pharmaceutical apprenticeship with his father in the drugstore and obtained a license to practice pharmacy from the state of South Carolina,” according to his obituary
Three more children were born to this union, Nan Yetta, who died in infancy; Seth, who is an attorney; and Sharon, an administrator at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
“Phil practiced in Dillon with his father and his brother, Mort for over forty years before retiring and moving to Charlotte. Phil and Mort dedicated themselves to serving the Dillon community, often opening the store after hours to help someone with a medical emergency. ‘Dr. Phil’ and ’Dr. Mort’ were well-known and well-loved in Dillon, where Mort still lives,” his obituary stated.
In a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke at the interstate interchange dedication ceremony for him on March 7, 2009, Bernanke recalled his family ties to Dillon, “As some of you know, my family ties to Dillon extend back more than six decades. My paternal grandparents, Jonas and Lina Bernanke, purchased a drugstore on Dillon’s Main Street in 1941 and moved here from New York. Jonas called the store Jay Bee Drugs, after his own initials. Eventually, my dad, Philip, and his brother, Mort—who still lives in Dillon—bought the store from my grandfather and ran it for many years. Dillon had very few doctors at the time, so a lot of people came to my dad and uncle for advice on basic health matters. They became known to their customers as ‘Dr. Phil’ and ‘Dr. Mort.’ When my mother, Edna, wasn’t keeping an eye on me or my siblings, she kept the store books and paid the bills. I remember working in the store as a boy, or, as Uncle
Mort likes to remind me, avoiding work by hiding out by the comic-book rack.”
“Since moving to Charlotte, Phil and Edna have been members of Temple Israel, participating in services and study as their health allowed. Phil loved his children and his grandchildren. He was a warm, witty and affectionate man who valued discussion and resolution over conflict. He had strong morals and values that he passed along to his children by word and deed. He is terribly missed,” his obituary states.
Survivors include his wife, Edna Friedman Bernanke; brother, Mortimer (Pat); son, Ben (Anna); son, Seth (Ellen) and daughter, Sharon (Paul), and by his grandchildren, Joel (Elise), Alyssa, Mariah and Karinne.
Memorials may be made to Temple Israel, 4901 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28226.
J.B. Tallent Funeral Service and Crematory (http://www.tallentfuneralservice.com) handled the arrangements.