John Berne

Obituary of John J. Berne

Smethport - John J. Berne, 78, of Crosby, passed away Saturday (July 8, 2023) at UPMC-Cole, Coudersport.


He was born October 31, 1944 in Port Allegany, a son of Anthony and Hattie (Lathrop) Berne, Jr.


John graduated from Smethport Area High School in 1962.  He attended Clarion University where he received his B.S. and Master’s Degrees.  He also attended St. Bonaventure University for additional education in administration.  He also studied at Penn State University and Indiana University of PA.


John was a teacher for thirty-three years at Cameron County School District in Emporium.  He received the “Teacher of the Year Award” at Cameron County in 1987-1988.  Mr. Berne was a PMR for the U.S. Postal System for many years at the Crosby Post Office.  Each year he awarded The John Berne Scholarship to a deserving young person to further their education.


John was a well known entertainer.  He was an outstanding accordion player.  He had played with several bands and was a Kravos recording artist.  He played in both United States and Canadian venues.  He entertained many Senior Centers and Nursing Homes over the years with his talent.  He was aired on the radio with “The Hound”, 97.5 FM, with his “John Berne Polka Review”.


John held “Bernefest” at his camp, The Maples Inn, in Crosby, where many artists had performed.  This includes “America’s Polka King”, Frank Yankovic, and “Canada’s Polka King”, Walter Ostenik.


He was a member of St. Elizabeth Church, Smethport, the Port Allegany Moose Lodge #460, the North Central Pennsylvania Polk Boosters, the Cleveland Polka Hall of Fame, and the McKean County Fair Association, where he served as Treasurer, Vice president and President over the years.  He was also the Zone #1 director for the PA State Association of County Fairs, and the State Chairman for the PA Fair Queen Board.  He was a member of the Sons of the American Legion; John Berg Post #976 of Crosby, the Norwich Volunteer Fire Department, had served as a director for the Smethport Area School District and was a member of Mountain Music Productions.  He also owned Twin Hearts Drive Inn of Crosby, PA.


He is survived by one son, Jason (Christy) Tessena of Crosby; one granddaughter, Chelsey Parris; one sister, Judy Abbey of Crosby; one brother, Robert (Audrey) Berne of Smethport; one Aunt, Elvida Stapulis and several nieces and nephews.


John was preceded in death by his parents.


Visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Hartle-Tarbox Funeral Homes, Inc., 2 Bank St., Smethport, where funeral services will be held on Wed., July 12, at 10 AM. Burial will be in Norwich Cemetery, Norwich Twp.


Memorials, if desired, may be made to the Sons of the American Legion; John Berg Post #976 of Crosby or the Norwich Twp. Volunteer Fire Dept. Truck Fund.  Online condolences may be made at


Arrangements are under the direction of the Hartle-Tarbox Funeral Homes, Inc., Smethport.


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