Bernabe “Bernie” Asuncion Deguzman, Sr., 86, lovingly known as “Pops,” and “Mr. Miyagi”, departed this earthly life, in Fayetteville, North Carolina on May 5, 2022, surrounded by loved ones who will continue to honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest.
Bernie was born in San Jose, Urdanita, Pangasinan, Philippines where he grew up with his seven siblings. He was nostalgic about his home and often shared stories of his childhood with his children. If you asked Bernie where home was, he enthusiastically said, “The Philippines! Fayetteville is where I live.”
He studied Horticulture and Animal Husbandry at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. In 1960, one semester shy of earning his Bachelor’s Degree, he joined the United States Navy and his adventures began. When not on duty, he was part of a singing trio, entertaining his shipmates and cutting hair as well.
His navy travels landed him in Norfolk, Virginia where he met and married his beloved wife, Adela T. (Macaranas) in January 1966. He eventually transferred to the United States Army to keep his growing family near. He was very proud to have served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, retiring as Master Sergeant after serving a combined 26 years.
His family dubbed him a “professional student”. Whether to enhance his knowledge or skill for work or a hobby, he believed in continuing education. He received his plumbing, HVAC and electrical license from Fayetteville Technical Community College, even making the Dean’s list. He also took courses in taxidermy, and upholstery. Bernie was industrious. He cooked at a local country club, provided balikbayan service to the Filipino community, and retired from J&J Maintenance (for Ft. Bragg base housing).
Bernie was rarely idle. Early on, he was on a recreational bowling league and later played racquetball. It was more well-known he was an avid hunter, often leaving Adela the two-word “Gone Hunting” notes regarding his whereabouts. He loved Friday night karaoke with his friends, dancing, had an affinity for rope (he enjoyed tying knots and securing things), and loved animals, especially his family pets. He enjoyed watching tennis, football, and boxing—repeatedly watching Manny Pacquiao fights. He affectionately bestowed nicknames on his wife, children, grandchildren, and pets. His wife outranked him; he dubbed her “Sargeant Major!”
You did not see him out and about without his ID card lanyard around his neck, and gadgets either filling his pockets or within reach; he loved gadgets and insisted, “I could use this!” If you needed to charge your phone, he had the right cord. He loved to tinker with things and take them apart—like his riding lawn mowers. He enjoyed cutting his grass and tending to his lawn, even while confined to a hospital bed, he wanted to get up and cut his grass.
His enthusiasm was infectious, and you could depend on him for a good laugh. He could be eyeball rolling silly at times, but he had an endearing wit, finding ways to make you laugh, make you think, even if it was texting every word in his message backward. Family members, astonished, once watched him sign autographs for strangers who thought he was Mr. Miyagi. Laughing, he later revealed, “I signed my own name, but they won’t know the difference.”
Bernie embraced traveling abroad, meeting new people, and experiencing other cultures. He was not shy and impacted many in his travels. He country hopped during his two army tours in Germany. More recently, he was working on checking off his bucket list of countries to visit. He was young at heart and pocketed his experiences, like climbing olive trees in Greece at age 84 and swimming with dolphins in Jamaica at age 86.
Bernie was an active and life-long member of the Philippine-American Club of Fayetteville. He served on various committees, was an officer, and danced with the Maharlika Dance Troupe. He held many affectionate titles of respect within the Philippine-American Club, Tatay, Tatang, Pari, Manong—they all implied one thing—a bond—FAMILY—his extended family.
His deepest love was reserved for his wife, his family, and his closest friends—his extended family. As time and travel permitted, it warmed his heart to welcome each newborn into the family. He lived his life joyfully, experiencing few disappointments. He imparted wisdom when warranted. If you did not listen, you became the recipient of the oft repeated, “I tell you time and time again” accompanied by emphatic hand gestures.
Bernie was preceded in death by his parents, Geminiano Gutus Deguzman, Perpetua Bongolan Asuncion, and his beloved wife Adela T. (Macaranas), daughter Rosita Dyck (Nick), son Camilo “Sonny” Macaranas, Jr. (Vickie), granddaughter Michelle Lynn Cornell, great-grandson R.J. Witt, brothers Benito, Dominador, Teofilo Jr., and sister Erlinda (Oliveros). He is survived by sons, Ricardo Macaranas, David Macaranas (Beth), Bernabe Deguzman, Jr., and daughters Linda Cornell, Mary Ann Boyd (Douglas), Donna Walden (James), and Liza Deguzman (Aaron), 23 grandchildren, 52 great-grandchildren, 11 great-great grandchildren, sisters Felisa “Esing” (Fabro), Demetria “Miming” (Reyes), Trinidad “Nida” Decano (Jesse), a host of nieces, nephews, and furry baby Hunny-Bunny-Jessica-Christine.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Rogers and Breece Funeral Home, 500 Ramsey Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301. A Funeral Mass will be held at 12:30 P.M. at St. Ann Catholic Church, 357 N. Cool Spring Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301. A Graveside Ceremony will take place at 2:00 P.M. at the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery, 8220 Bragg Boulevard, Fort Bragg, NC 28307 with a Celebration of Life reception immediately following at the Kiwanis Recreation Center, 252 Devers Street, Fayetteville, NC 28303.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
- Psalm 73:26
Doctors, nurses, at WOMAC Army Hospital
Amedisys Home Health & Hospice Care
Philippine-American Club of Fayetteville
A special heartfelt thanks to his closest friends.