The description "businessman" can conjure an image of an uptight, stuffy person. While Bernard Easley was a businessman, this stereotype did not apply.
Mr. Easley, 64, of Shaler died Sunday from an apparent heart attack, said his son, Brendan Easley.
He was born in Bloomfield and graduated from Central Catholic High School, Point Park University and the University of Virginia.
After school, he began working as a teacher but made the switch to banking, a career to which he dedicated more than 30 years of his life.
"He was a very loving man who touched many hearts," Brendan Easley said. "Definitely a businessman but touched a lot of people, and sometimes you need that kind of heart in that business."
Mr. Easley held management positions at PNC Bank and WesBanco Inc. and most recently was Vice President of Operations and Lending at Pittsburgh Central Federal Credit Union.
"He was a great man who never took sides. He always saw things other people couldn't," said John McGee, who worked for Mr. Easley at Wesbanco. "I traveled a lot with him and everywhere he went he was well-received."
Mr. Easley's appearance was described as "larger than life" and it earned him the nickname "Big Bern." Not only was his appearance large but his personality towered as well.
"He was a man who loved to tell stories and crack a joke," his son said. "People would always ask him, 'Hey, remember that one story?' and they would want to hear it again. He always had a story for someone."
A lot of his stories came from the time he spent refereeing high school basketball and umpiring baseball games.
He was a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Basketball Officials Association where he served as secretary, a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association official, and a member of the Pittsburgh Umpire Association.
Handing out technical fouls became Mr. Easley's "thing," Mr. McGee said.
"He would always joke, 'I'm going to give you a T' or 'We'll T him up' -- that was his phrase," Mr. McGee recalled.
In addition to his son, Mr. Easley is survived by his wife, Jacqueline of Shaler; a daughter, Jessica of the North Hills; a brother, John Easley, and sisters, Helen Stokes and Elizabeth Easley, all of Pittsburgh.
Visitation will be held today from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. at Neely Funeral Home, 2208 Mt. Royal Blvd, Shaler. Mass will be celebrated Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Bonaventure Church, 2001 Mt. Royal Blvd., Shaler.
Ryan Petrovich: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2193 or on Twitter @RyanPetrovich.