Bernard James Ley, 93, died of heart failure Friday, January 9, 2015, in his room at Our House care center in Orem, Utah, after a long life of accomplishment and teaching.

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He was born May 26, 1921, the son of Bernard J. Ley and Lucille Hughes, at 425 E. 153rd Street in New York City. His parents spoiled him and his sister Muriel, even during the Depression years, and according to his mother, Jim could do no wrong. He was given great freedom to explore and satisfy his fertile curiosity.

Jim married his sweetheart for life, Dorothy Schmidt on June 21, 1942, in Brooklyn, N.Y. They weren't married long before he was called to serve the United States Navy. He served from May 1944 until February 1946 in the Pacific. Having graduated from New York University with a degree in electrical engineering, he spent most of his time in the Navy installing and repairing radar systems on various vessels.

Jim worked for General Electric Co. before the war but was drawn back to NYU afterward where he earned a masters degree and became a professor of electrical engineering. During that time he worked with RCA on developing a new communication form, the television. He later worked as department head of electrical engineering at Manhattan College.

He loved teaching, and his seven grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren came to expect a brainteaser or two whenever they spent time with their Papa.

Dorothy loved education as well, and when she was away from home pursuing degrees in English, Jim happily nurtured his son and daughter, cooking, cleaning, and sewing. He was an early Mr. Mom in the 1950s and proud of it. They had the first television in the neighborhood (because Jim built it), and all three remember a worn patch in the carpet where they Jim could do no wrong. He was given great freedom to explore and satisfy his fertile curiosity. watched TV and wrestled. Jim also loved gardening and photography.

Jim and Dorothy enjoyed their retirement years, moving from New York City to Reading, Pa., traveling around the world and participating in elder hostels. They were faithful churchgoers, and Jim volunteered a great deal of his time fixing, painting, and insulating church buildings. He was a stickler for efficiency and loved to explore and install solar and other alternative energy solutions. He participated in the early development of electric cars.

In 2002, Dorothy and Jim moved to Orem, Utah, to be near Linda and her family. Dorothy passed on in 2008. Survivors include his son Robert David Ley (Dale) and daughter Linda, aka Jenni, Lucille (Brent) Harker.

A viewing was held at Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 S. State Street in Orem, Thursday, Jan. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. A funeral service was conducted at the same location Friday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. with interment following at the Orem City Cemetery.


Services Handled By

Sundberg Olpin Mortuary
495 S State St
Provo, UT

Life Story Info


Jim Harker

Post Date

Sep 10, 2018

Personal Info


New York City, New York, United States


Orem, Utah, United States

Cause of Death

Heart Disease






  • Reading, Pennsylvania, United States

Religion and Beliefs




Military Affiliation

  • Navy


  • World War II


  • Master's
    New York University
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NEXT Elwyn Langley Bergstrom Elwyn Langley Bergstrom


Papa was the greatest.

Jeremy Harker Sep 10, 2018


  • 1940
  • Jun 21, 1942

    Jim marries life-long sweetheart, Dorothy.

  • May 1944

    Jim enters WWII as a radar technician in the Navy.

  • Dec 29, 1949

    Jim's daughter Linda is born.