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Library greeter dies after 20 years at library

Feb. 14, 2001

Man served in Korea, WW II before joining staff

By JOHN HALL

Staff writer

The foyer of Moody Memorial Library was a little quieter Tuesday afternoon; a seat once filled with a smiling face and a sincere comment to everyone who passed was empty for the first time in 20 years.

Leo Berndt, who began working at the library in September of 1980, passed away as a result of complications from a stroke at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Several library workers said they will remember Berndt's friendliness fondly, remembering that he had a comment for everyone who came by him, most frequently telling the person to 'have a nice day' or reminding the person to study hard and adding how much time remained in the semester.

'He said he liked talking to the students,' said Julie Ortiz, a Keen sophomore who worked with Berndt. 'I think he felt like he was helping others.'

Jody Gousset, a co-worker, said Berndt 'liked to brighten students' days, and anyone else's that came his way.'

Berndt, who fought in World War II and the Korean War, retired after working for several government agencies for many years and enrolled at Baylor, received his master's degree in history in 1979.

Gousset said Berndt utilized his education as he told stories about the forced movement of Native American tribes, especially those in North Dakota, his home state, and Oklahoma, where he was raised.

Alice Linkos, who worked with Berndt for 14 years, said she remembers that he loved to look on the Internet for the weather conditions outside. She said he was 'fascinated' by the way the weather changes. She said he would watch the screen for hours, updating her when the weather changed even one degree.

'I know he'll be missed,' Oritz said. 'I know everyone at the library loved him because he was genuine. Not just the workers, but anyone who came in often will remember him.'

Berndt's supervisor echoed Ortiz's sentiments.

'He is in a better place now with a whole new audience to hear his stories,' said Linda Cobbs, a service access librarian. 'He was a unique individual and we'll never replace him.'

Berndt is survived by his wife, Jean, two sons, Barry and Dan and three grandchildren.

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