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Bertrand's passing prompts fond memories

TRIBUTE TO ‘MISTER B.’: Warrensburg High School Students scrawled hundreds of heartfelt messages to their beloved coach and teacher, the late Brent Bertrand, filling up a 60-fee-long mural that stretched the length of the school cafeteria. Bertrand died early Tuesday of apparent natural causes.

TRIBUTE TO ‘MISTER B.’: Warrensburg High School Students scrawled hundreds of heartfelt messages to their beloved coach and teacher, the late Brent Bertrand, filling up a 60-fee-long mural that stretched the length of the school cafeteria. Bertrand died early Tuesday of apparent natural causes. Photo by Thom Randall.

— A natural born educator, Brent's devotion extended beyond the classroom on to the athletic fields. "Coach" Bertrand spent many seasons on the Warrensburg softball fields teaching students the life lessons of success and failure on the playing field. Displaying a consistent approach to teaching in both the classroom and the ballfield, Brent urged his student athletes to "practice how you play" as yet another example of doing things the right way and taking pride in what one does.

Warrensburg was a very special community for Bertrand. Always with a friendly smile and a genuine interest and concern for others, he shared his dedication to education and to the Warrensburg students with the other school district employees. He prided himself on arriving early, being available and accessible to all and never missing a day of work. He became an integral member of the Warrensburg community and valued the relationships and friendships he developed over the years.

Brent was equally as dedicated to and compassionate about his family as he was to his profession. As one of seven siblings, he developed a strong work ethic and sense of commitment, responsibility and fairness during his formative years, traits that he exemplified throughout his life. He shared his love for the farm and the lake with his parents, siblings and their spouses, and his nieces and nephews, and realized the importance and meaning of the farm and the lake as the place for the family to gather.

Brent was predeceased by his father, Frank L. Bertrand. He is survived by his mother, Jane L. Bertrand; his sister, Susan Semiz; his brothers, Bruce, Frank, Matthew, Michael and Peter; his brother-in-law, John Semiz; sisters-in-law, Jane Bertrand, Patricia Bertrand and Sally Bertrand; his girlfriend, Missy Ackley; and several nieces and nephews who idolized and adored their Uncle Brent.

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