Bernhard Wilhelm LeVander was born in St. Paul on March 9, 1916. He was the son of Magni and Laura (Lovene) LeVander. The elder LeVander was a Lutheran pastor. His older brother Harold (b.1910), also an attorney, served as governor of Minnesota (1967-1971). Another older brother, Ted, was a speech teacher at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. Bernhard married Dagne E. Anderson of Grantsburg, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1939. The couple had two children, Kirsten Mary and Peter Anders.
LeVander earned a bachelor's degree at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota in 1937, and a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1939. He began practicing law in Minneapolis in 1939. Early in his career he was assistant Chisago County (Minnesota) Attorney. In 1950 he was made a partner in the South St. Paul law firm of Kelly, LeVander and Gillen. In 1981 he was the senior partner of the Minneapolis law firm LeVander, Zimpfer, and Zotaley.
Bernhard LeVander was a member of Harold Stassen's gubernatorial campaign staff (1938), worked as a special government research assistant to Governor Stassen (1940-1942), and was director of the Minnesota Department of Social Security's Division of Social Welfare (1943). He was a member of the United States Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946, director of Stassen's presidential campaign (1946-1948); and chairman of the State Central Committee of the Republican Party (1946-1950). He was a candidate for Minnesota attorney general in 1954.
LeVander was involved with a variety of organizations. He was president of the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis; a member of the board of the Minnesota Mental Health Association; a director of Bethesda Hospital; chairman of the alumni board of Gustavus Adolphus College; and a member of the Executive Council of the Lutheran Church in America.
From the guide to the Bernhard LeVander Papers., 1937-1981 (bulk 1941-1952)., (Minnesota Historical Society)