Ret. Arizona National Guard Brig. Gen. Felix J. Bertino 93, died peacefully on Friday, February 1, 2013 at his home. Born Oct. 11, 1919 in Phoenix, to Ellen A. and Felix D. Bertino, Felix J. Bertino descends from Northern Italy. Military service was a family tradition as his father, Felix D. Bertino, was an elite soldier in the Kingdom of Savoy’s Royal Arma dei Carabinieri.
Serving in the Canal Zone during WWII, Gen. Bertino was a ‘Bushmaster’ in the 158th Inf. and a 14th Inf. Jungle Platoon Leader.’ Rugged and fearless masters in the art of jungle warfare, they assisted in designing and inventing special equipment and operational techniques employed in jungle operations. As Platoon Leader and later as Capt. in the Panama Mobile Forces, he performed reconnaissance and rescue missions in Panama, Peru, and Ecuador, deep in the Amazonian jungle. At war’s end, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
In 1957, he received a National Guard citation for outstanding performance as Officer of Operations and Training. A member of Arizona’s Emergency Medical Services Committee for 5 years, Gov. Williams cited him for outstanding performance and achievement.
He was Chief of Staff for Major Generals: Joseph Ahee, John C. Wilson, Jackson Bogle, and Brig. Gen. Charles W. Fernald. In 1974, Gov. Williams conferred upon him the title and rank of Brigadier General closing his 36-year career.
The Bertino Family were early settlers to Arizona. The Bertino Family Farm, purchased in 1915, once comprised some 100 acres along Chicago Ave., now known as 44th St., in Maricopa County.
A highly skilled outdoorsman and masterful gardener, he worked the Bertino Farm throughout his military career. At heart, he always considered himself a farmer. A University of Arizona graduate, he held a degree in Plant Pathology. A private man with a very keen intellect, his mastery of detail and recollection was remarkably incisive and never diminished with age.
His wife of 62 years, the late Peggy Thim Bertino, and his 3 sisters; Margaret, Alice and Elsie preceded him in death. He will be deeply missed by his two beloved daughters, Jean Soldat and Nancy Bertino as well as by his extended family and dear friends.
A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, February 8, 2013 at 10 a.m. at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, followed by a high honors military interment at St. Francis Cemetery, Phoenix. In lieu of flowers, donations in Felix’s honor may be made to Homes for Our Troops at www.homesforourtroops.org.
Richard K. Thim, Jr.
What a wonderful obituary for an extraordinary man. I always knew that my Uncle Felix was a special person but I really had no idea how special until I read this brief account of his life. As we all knew, he was indeed a private person and did not really talk much about his accomplishments. I like to recall the story that he told me about going with his father, when he was a little boy, to haul produce from their farm in Phoenix to the mining town of Jerome. This was no easy trip since it was in an old truck, over unpaved roads, and the route took them through Bumble Bee, Cleator and the town of Crown King! What a rich and wonderful life he must have had. I am so proud to call him my Uncle and I will surely miss him a lot.
I am so sorry for your loss. May the outpouring of sympathy, the kind acts of friends and strangers, as well as your memories give you comfort to help you endure the days ahead. The Bible also offers comfort. “For God is near to those broken at heart. “ Ps 34:17,18. Our Creator promises that there will soon be a time when “death will be no more.” Revelation 21:4. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org