The 102-year-old Scott man who on Saturday received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award died Sunday, his wife said.
Bernard Russell Queneau was believed to be one of the country’s oldest living Eagle Scouts. His wife, Esther, said that he struggled Saturday through a ceremony in which the Laurel Highlands Council and the National Eagle Scout Association bestowed the honor on him.
“He just hung on,” Esther Queneau said. “He did it his way. That award meant so much to him. He’s in a better place.” Saturday was also her 90th birthday.
On Sunday morning, the couple spent time together at his Providence Point residence, reading through nomination letters for the award and reliving the memories of the special day, Esther Queneau said. He died Sunday afternoon.
Established in 1969, the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award honors those who have been Eagle Scouts for more than 25 years and who have demonstrated outstanding career achievement. Fewer than 2,200 people have received the honor.
Queneau worked in a U.S. Steel research lab before the war, joining the Naval Reserve in 1939. He was called to active duty in 1942, working in the Navy’s armor and projectile laboratory in Dahlgren, Va. Near the end of the war, he entered Germany to study its industrial technology.
He returned to U.S. Steel and became general manager in charge of quality assurance beginning in 1964. After his retirement in 1977, he became a consultant and technical editor for the Iron and Steel Society’s magazine until 1983.
Queneau volunteered for 20 years with Meals on Wheels, was an escort at St. Clair Hospital and volunteered at the Mt. Lebanon library.
“He was such a special man. He excelled at everything,” Esther Queneau said. “He was a high achiever. He was a treasure, and it’s going to be very lonely going on without him.”
In a Friday interview with The Trib, Queneau said he had one simple message for any Boy Scout or Eagle Scout: “Do a great job, do your best, keep active and help somebody all of the time.”
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or [email protected]