Dr. Manuel A. Bergnes, 93, of West Norriton, a retired pathologist and decorated World War II combat surgeon, died Saturday at the Meadows at Shannondell in Audubon.
Dr. Bergnes was a pathologist at Phoenixville Hospital from 1949 to 1982. He was also chief pathologist at Sacred Heart Hospital in Norristown from 1950 to 1983 and remained on the hospital staff until retiring in 1992. He then performed autopsies for the Montgomery County Coroner's Office until 2000.
For 22 years, Dr. Bergnes was assistant professor at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He was a member of several professional associations and served on the board of the National Pituitary Agency in Washington. He was a laboratory accreditation inspector for the College of American Pathologists.
In 1966, he volunteered for two months with Project Hope, training medical personnel and doctors aboard a hospital ship docked in Nicaragua. Three years later, Dr. Bergnes, who was fluent in Spanish, volunteered at Embudo Presbyterian Hospital in New Mexico, practicing general medicine and assisting with lab accreditations. He had a lifelong commitment to the less fortunate, said his daughter, Linda.
Dr. Bergnes, grew up in New York City and Puerto Rico. His parents were natives of Barcelona, Spain,
He earned a bachelor's degree from Wagner College on Staten Island, where he met his future wife, Muriel Ahrend. He earned a medical degree from Long Island College of Medicine, now SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and interned at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J.
During World War II, Dr. Bergnes was an Army medical unit commander in the South Pacific. He tended to the wounded under enemy fire on battlefields in New Guinea and the Philippines and was awarded a Silver Star.
After his discharge as a lieutenant colonel, he completed a residency in pathology at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.
Dr. Bergnes enjoyed traveling with his family and exploring ancient ruins - he called it "temple crawling," his daughter said, and visiting relatives in Spain.
A talented woodworker, he crafted furniture, model ships and small, seaworthy boats. He loved everything having to do with the ocean, his daughter said. He also built additions to his home, she said, and was always walking around with a folding ruler, making plans. An accomplished photographer, he made his own camera while in the Army.
In addition to his wife of 59 years and daughter, Dr. Bergnes is survived by nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Grace Lutheran Church, 506 Haws Ave., Norristown. Entombment will be at Riverside Cemetery Mausoleum in Norristown.