Hugo W. Bertini, 94, died March 18, 2021 at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Born on December 12, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois to immigrant Italian parents, Hugo joined the Army at the age of 17, the earliest he could join during World War II. Always athletic, he boxed while he was in the service. Once the war ended, he decided to pursue his education. To do so, he had to redo his high school degree on a more academic track and then complete the first two years of college at Wright Junior College. He then graduated from Northwestern University with an undergraduate degree. He earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Tennessee in 1962. He used this advanced degree in his decades of work in nuclear physics in the Neutron Physics Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He published a number of scientific articles during that time and performed pioneering research into the uses of solar energy.
Hugo passionately pursued his interests in fitness, hunting, fishing, marksmanship and the outdoors throughout his life. He gave his three sons a childhood like no other, by involving them in these interests. He regarded these pursuits as opportunities for learning and for exposure to new and fascinating experiences, including eye-opening adventures in exploring the wilderness in Arizona and Colorado in search of lost treasures. His sons cherish these memories, as they do their memories of their father’s ever-present sense of humor, and his booming hearty laugh.
Hugo is preceded in death by his father Rizieri Bertini and mother Matilde Bertini, by his brother Reno Bertini, and by his sister Lola Bertini Bennett. He is survived by his longtime beloved companion, Peggy Tiner, his sons, Steven Bertini, Michael Bertini, Peter Bertini, their mother JoAnne and their spouses, his niece, Nina Bennett Smith, and by numerous grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Oak Ridge Sportmen’s Association, 2625 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 37830.
Hugo had a long and interesting life! I’m glad I got to know him, and I wish I could have spent more time, but he deserves his rest now.
He was such a towering, powerful figure as I so clearly remember him. I used to think Mike’s first name was Jesus when we grew up as I can so vividly hear Hugo saying, “Jesus Mike!” when he learned of our antics as teenagers. In the later years when Mike would come to hunt with me in Indiana (still does), I always enjoyed the calls we would make to Hugo recounting our successful deer hunts. And he loved the stories too. Truly if it were not for Hugo (and Mike), I would have never grown to love the outdoors and hunting as I do. Thank you Hugo for my start of a lifelong love of outdoorsmanship, hunting, marksmanship, and eating the wild bounty on earth. We will miss you. Godspeed.
Rest thee well and sleep thee safe, Hugo
Hugo was always such a big presence in our lives. Such a life well lived. Lucas and I will miss him so much.