Bernard ‘Bernie’ M. Shute

CALUMET — Bernard M. Shute, 93, of Calumet, Michigan, passed away March 1, 2021.

He was born March 12, 1927 to Mike and Mary Shute of Calumet.

Bernie was born during the prohibition and fondly referred to himself as a “Bootlegger Baby.” Born in the family home, upstairs of Shute’s Bar, Bernie experienced life “behind the bar” during the prohibition, the great depression, WWII, The Korean War and The Vietnam War. He experienced a once thriving mining town and navigated his business through the C&H shutdown.

From a very young age, Bernie would look out his living room window and watch the firetrucks and firewagons across the street at the Calumet Fire Department. Growing up, he was always “hanging out with the firemen,” listening to their stories and doing whatever odd jobs they gave him; like cleaning out the horse stalls in the back of the station… and yes, he would slide down the pole for fun.

Bernie attended Calumet schools. In 1944, at age 17, he joined the Navy, and was a Fireman First Class during WWII. Once home, along with working for his father at the family bar, Bernie worked in Kearsarge No. 4, and as a fireman for the Calumet Village Fire Department.

By the 1950’s, Bernie took over full operation of Shute’s Bar and became chief of the Village Fire Department for 35 years. Serving for a total of 40 years.

If you knew Bernie, he took great pride in Shute’s 1890 Saloon. In the family for 70 years, he put in 110-hour weeks, only to break away for fire emergencies, trusting a patron to run the bar while he was out; and many times, after a fire, come back to close up the bar and clean. For his “regulars,” Bernie would open their beer, and have it ready for them, minutes before they walked in… facing the bottle labels all in one direction, atop his polished bar.

Then something caught his eye in Vertin’s Department Store, and she became the love of his life. In 1968 Bernie married Claire Dwyer, and they were married 50 years. During a recent interview he said how he wished he could have spent more time with her, and that she was the most beautiful woman in Calumet.

Bernie never met a stranger, and if you were from Calumet, he knew your family tree. He could recite local events and history, dates and times, like they were yesterday. He spent many a day enjoying the old family cottage in Eagle Harbor. He fished and hunted with his father and friends, and he never drank or smoke.

His wife, The Calumet Village Fire Department, Shute’s 1890 Saloon and his old green truck were his pride and joys.

From his retirement speech 1989:

“Old Firemen Never Die, They Just Burn Out Slowly.

Bernie was preceded in death by his wife Claire Dwyer Shute, sister-in-law Mary Gravitter, by his parents, sisters Mary and Bernice, brother Frank, and nephew Michael Taylor. Survivors include his daughter Terri Longpre Drielick, son-in-law Tom Drielick, sister Clara Shute Taylor and brother John Shute, sister-in-law Shirley Abele. Nieces and nephews Kathryn Teare, Mary Kaye Crenshaw, Jim Taylor, Penny Menze, Joy Menze, Kim Menze, Gina Menze, William Dwyer, Susan Lazzaretto, Lisa Mabey and many grand nieces and nephews and relatives, friends and firefighters.

The Drielick and Shute Family would like to especially thank Tim Gasperich, there was no better friend, and to the entire staff of Garden View Assisted Living, for being Bernie’s extended family through 2020.

Friends may call at the Ryan Funeral Home on Sunday, March 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. COVID-19 restrictions of 25 people, social distancing, and facemasks will be observed, Private funeral services will be held on Monday, March 8, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with Rev. Fr. Gracious Pulimoottil to officiate.