Dr. Bernard Adler, 87, of Center City, an optometrist who loved his craft so much he continued taking courses in retirement, died of heart failure Tuesday at home.

Born and raised in North Philadelphia, Dr. Adler graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry before serving as an Army optometrist in England and France during World War II.

Dr. Adler and his wife of 65 years, Ruth, raised their family in Cheltenham before moving to Center City nine years ago.

For more than 50 years, Dr. Adler had a practice on Rising Sun Avenue in the Northeast. He also ran a practice on Broad Street in Quakertown. For three decades, his wife worked alongside him at his offices.

"He didn't work the last number of years because he had to; he worked because he enjoyed it," son Mitchell said.

Patients traveled from other states because of the long amount of time he would spend with each patient, his son said.

About 10 years ago, Dr. Adler closed his Quakertown office because kidney problems forced him to spend days on dialysis.

He retired two years ago but continued to take optometric courses.

"He was determined to maintain his license even though he knew he wasn't going to practice again," his daughter, Sandy Gafni, said.

"He might fall asleep with the ball game on, but at these lectures he was focused all day. . . . He was there because he devoured and loved the information."

Dr. Adler also enjoyed his late-in-life move to Center City, and was fond of walking and going to the theater.

"To me what sums my dad up is he always had a smile on his face, very optimistic," Gafni said. "He always loved people, and they loved him."

In addition to his wife and two children, Dr. Adler is survived by four grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a sister.

The funeral is at 10 a.m. today at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks, 6410 N. Broad St. Burial is in Roosevelt Memorial Park.

Contact staff writer Matt Katz at 856-779-3919 or mkatz@phillynews.com.