Kenneth R. Bernard, Inventor and Entrepreneur, Dies at 88

Local inventor and entrepreneur Kenneth R. Bernard, 88, formerly of Haverhill, died Monday at his home in Lake Worth, Fla.

Born in Atkinson, N.H., he was raised on the Philip Marquand estate in Newburyport where his mother served as the family housekeeper. He fondly recalled visits with writer John P. Marquand and other members of the Curson and Marquand families.

A graduate of Haverhill Trade School, he worked for Dan-Ray Machine Company while attending the school. Returning to Haverhill after a stint in the Army, he started AZ Tool, which moved in 1964 from its original home on Essex Street to a former heel-turning shop building that now serves as the Plaistow Court House. Bernard sold the building to the city and built a new shop on Kingston Road where he ran the business until his move to Florida in 2001. AZ Tool specialized in precision-made parts, often working in millionths of an inch. Among his clients were Western Electric, IBM, Digital, MIT and NASA. Parts tooled at AZ were used in the Apollo Project and several pieces tooled by the company remain on the lunar surface. Bernard also held several patents for sewing machine attachments for the shoe industry, and was the inventor of the “Mice Cube,” a reusable, humane mouse trap that garnered international attention when introduced in 1988.

The husband of the late Virginia Bilmazes Bernard, former director of Haverhill Public Library, he leaves three sons, two daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Per his request, there will be no services. Interment will be at Linwood Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to his favorite radio station, Haverhill’s not-for-profit local radio station WHAV, 189 Ward Hill Avenue, Haverhill, MA 01835 or the Virginia Bilmazes Bernard Fund c/o Haverhill Public Library, 99 Main St., Haverhill, MA 01830.