Bernard Vernon Oliphant was a proud 1966 graduate of Stephens Lee High School, where he excelled in every subject. He was also a proud alumnus of North Carolina A&T State University and later Boston College.
Bernard’s assignments in the military are legend and warrant public recognition. His initial assignment was with the B Company, 56th S & S Battalion, 1st Support Brigade, where he served as a Platoon Leader, Motor Officer, Accountability Officer, and later aide-de-camp for the Deputy Commanding General of Theater Area Support Command.
He was Chief of the Mobilization Division at HQ, V Corps, and led the development of the Time Phase Force Deployment List that deployed US forces to Bosnia-Herzegovina (Task Force Eagle) and the movement of the Implementation Force into Kosovo. The US Army recognized Mr. Oliphant for his many heroic deeds. He was a diplomatic trouble shooter and worked under General Colin Powell through several presidential administrations.
Mr. Oliphant retired from government service after 12 years at the Pentagon, but his honor and patriotism did not end with his time in the military. He was a devoted member of the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and active beginning in 1982 in the Theta Rho Chapter in Germany. He served as the first Basileus of the Pi Lambda Lambda Chapter in the Third District. If you knew anything about Bernard, you would suspect that his blood was purple and gold (the fraternity’s colors, for the uninitiated). Bernard served his fraternity well for 41 years.
Bernard’s civic-mindedness led him to other endeavors in the community, including as a founding member of BlackMenMondays, a member of the Buncombe County Veterans Reparations Court, helping former military service members and their families improve their quality of life, and as a member of the Asheville-Buncombe Reparations Commission.
The accomplishment that Bernard Oliphant cherished most was his love for Jesus Christ and Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Once Bernard and Joyce returned to Asheville and entered Mt. Zion, they never ceased working. Bernard served as Deacon, Sunday School teacher, and Overseer of the Security Team. His love for his pastor and the people of Mt. Zion was endless!
Bernard was proceeded in death by his loving parents Leroy and Dorothy Holston Oliphant. Surviving to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Joyce Ann Oliphant; his brother James Denny; beloved aunts Pearl Holston and Flossie Ryans; daughter Ericka Einhaus, and sons Bernard Oliphant 2nd and Manfred Mooney (his Pops); loving sisters-in-laws, and a host of nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his close friend Dwayne McAfee.