- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

BARNSTABLE, MASS. (AP) - Stephen Bernard, founder of the Cape Cod Potato Chips company and two other snack food brands, has died.

Bernard died Saturday at Cape Cod Hospital after a battle with pancreatic cancer, said his daughter, Nicole Dawes. He was 61.

Bernard and his wife, Lynn, founded Cape Cod Potato Chips in 1980 as an offshoot of their health food store despite having almost no knowledge of the snack food industry. After a shaky start, the kettle-cooked chips took off and eventually got national distribution.

Dawes said her father was humble, yet fearless.

“He literally did not possess the ability to give up,” she said. “He knew less than nothing about making potato chips when he started, but he read an article about making chips the old-fashioned natural way and said ‘I can do that.’”

Bernard sold the company to Anheuser-Busch in 1985, but reacquired it when the brewer sold its Eagle Snacks division. Lance Inc. bought the company in 1999.

Bernard started Chatham Village Foods gourmet croutons in 1990 and sold it to Lancaster Colony Corp. in 1997.

Throughout his life, he encouraged and advised other natural foods entrepreneurs, even his competitors, his daughter said.

He was officially retired when Dawes wanted to start Late July Organic Snacks, a natural cracker and cookie company. He did not hesitate lending his expertise and the company was started in 2003.

Bernard, a Concord, N.H., native, graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1969 with a degree in economics. Rather than join the rat race, Bernard and a friend hitchhiked across the country, fighting forest fires in Alaska, sailing to the Turks & Caicos Islands, living in Puerto Rico and fishing for tuna out of New Bedford, Dawes said.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Bernard is survived by three brothers and a sister, and two grandsons.

A wake is scheduled for Friday at the John-Lawrence Funeral Home in Barnstable, and a celebration of his life will be held on Saturday at the Cotuit Federated Church in Cotuit.

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