97-year-old Fairfield resident, Bernard Podolsky died Monday, March 4 at Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Skilled Care Unit. He was a long-time petroleum engineer and geologist in Fairfield.
Bernie Podolsky grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, the youngest son of Israel and Rae Podolsky, immigrants from Russia and Romania. During the Depression, he worked his way through college before heading west to work in the developing oil fields of Illinois. ROTC training in college meant that Bernie was called into active military duty early in 1941.
Bernie left the army as a Major, then returned to Olney to work for Robinson-Puckett Oil Company and later for himself. The family moved to Fairfield in 1950.
As a leader in conservation, Bernie took pride in reducing the impact of oil production on the farmland of Southern Illinois. He developed a salt water damaged soil clean-up process that has been widely used in the industry. He was passionate about trees, both for conservation of land and for recreation and education, and he often planted hundreds of trees at a time. In 1991 Governor Edgar named Bernard as the Illinois Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year along with his son.
Survivors include his children, Bill Podolsky, Suzanne Schoomer and Mike Podolsky; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Services for Bernard Podolsky will be 10 a.m. Thursday, March 7 at the Johnson & Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield with burial in Haven Hill Cemetery in Olney.
Visitation will be from 5 – 8 Wednesday evening, March 6 at the Johnson & Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield
Memorials may be made to the Fairfield Memorial Hospital, the Fairfield Community High School Foundation or the Fairfield Park District and will be accepted at the Johnson & Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield.