Sep 1st 1928 - May 21st 2010
There are some who seem to whittle away their days accomplishing just enough to get through each moment, but nothing could be farther from the truth when reflecting on the life of Patricia Bard. She impacted not only the lives of those within her family and community, but their hearts as well. Always a woman who was thinking of others, Pat selflessly gave of herself to those both near and far throughout a vibrant life that spanned numerous decades. She was a savvy businesswoman during times when doing so was outside of the norm, but caring for her family and others always occupied the biggest portion of her heart. Pat leaves behind words of wisdom, thoughts filled with exceptional inspiration, and a timeless example of a life well lived.
The year 1928 anchored a time in American history that was laced with vibrant culture, life-altering advancements, and dreams for the future that were only limited by one’s own choosing. This was a year for great joy in the family of Edwin and Lois (Chapman) Quick as they welcomed their daughter, Patricia Ann, into their hearts and home on July 27th. Born in Muskegon, Michigan as the oldest of three girls in her family, Patricia was raised in Muskegon, the community she would call home throughout the majority of her lifetime. Her father worked as an insurance agent and also served as the mayor of Muskegon. As a family they attended Central Methodist Church and Pat, along with her sisters Marilyn and Linda, attended local schools including Muskegon High School.
After graduating from high school in 1946, Pat went on to Albion College and graduated in 1950 with a teaching degree. With a heart that beat to help others, she went to the big island of Hawaii where she taught kindergarten children on a sugar plantation in primitive Laupahoehoe for one year before returning to Muskegon.
Once back in Muskegon, Pat began working as a desk agent for Capital Airlines at the Muskegon Airport and also manned the airline’s desk in the Occidental Hotel in downtown Muskegon from time to time. Also of great significance during this time was her re-acquaintance with a young man she had met in high school. His name was Douglas Bard and although they didn’t date while in high school the timing was right when they met again in their late twenties. After dating for a time, Pat and Douglas were married on September 14, 1956.
After a honeymoon in Bermuda, the newlyweds settled in the Glenside neighborhood. Pat began working for the Muskegon Travel Agency where she also wrote a travel column for the Muskegon Chronicle. The couple was blessed with the births of two girls, Lisa and Andrea, in the early sixties. Pat stopped working to care for the girls, but continued to volunteer at Planned Parenthood as well as for other organizations. Their growing family settled into a home on Applewood Lane with Lake Michigan nearby. As a family they enjoyed spending time at the family cottage on Crystal Lake in northern Michigan and also on great skiing vacations.
During the late sixties, Pat’s daughters were a bit older so she and her sister Linda started House of Travel, which instantly became a very successful travel agency that grew to employ 22 women including her widowed mother and middle sister. She was outspoken in the Western Michigan Organization of Travel Agents, working hard for the advancement of an industry that was beginning to both suffer and prosper at the hands of deregulation. At the request of Baker College, Pat organized and taught a course in travel, passing on years of wisdom gleaned through the work she loved. Pat’s extraordinary business skills were recognized when she became one of the first women to be invited into the male bastion of the local Rotary Club of Muskegon. About this time she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year, and appointed to the Board of Community College where she was later elected and served two more full terms. She also served on the Board of the Muskegon Bank and Trust into the late eighties.
Sensing the winds of change were on the horizon, Pat and her sister sold House of Travel to a Grand Rapids firm. Being women who excelled in their work, they anticipated how the internet would greatly impact their industry with the ability of the customer to take care of many of their travel needs from the comfort of their own home. Their keen business sense paid off, too, as the Grand Rapids firm disappeared not long after they sold their agency when the airlines suspended or eliminated all commissioned agents.
So much of Pat’s life was spent making sure those around her had the opportunity to love life as much as she did. The Bards had a tight-knit group of friends with whom they shared many lively parties and functions, as well as sailing vacations to the Virgin Islands. After fully embracing retirement in 1992, Pat cared for and organized three houses for her husband, daughters, and grandchildren, as well as a condo in Muskegon, a cottage at Crystal Lake in Benzie County, and a rented condo in Florida for six to eight weeks each winter. Her retirement years also found Pat entertaining, inspiring, and providing council to her peers and countless young women. She spent a great deal of her time pouring her thoughts into various forms of writing, quite often in limericks. Pat also focused much of her time creating an inviting door that was always open to her circle of many friends and acquaintances on the shores of Crystal Lake in the summer and Gasparilla Island during the winter months. She additionally tenderly cared for her mother who lived a very active life until her death in 2007.
Life was forever changed for Pat and those who loved her when she was diagnosed with cancer just a few months ago. After facing her battle with strength, courage, and grace, Pat’s will to live was no longer able to overpower the battle her body was facing. She drew her last breath surrounded by the family she treasured more than life itself.
The life of Patricia Bard exemplifies what ingenuity combined with love and graciousness truly looks like. She had a zest for life that she spent her days sharing with others whether those in her family, her friends, or those who were simply lucky enough to know her. Pat’s tender touch reached so many as an outpouring of a heart that knew no bounds. She will be greatly missed and warmly remembered.
Patricia A. Bard died on Friday, May 21, 2010. Pat’s family includes her husband of 53 years, Douglas; daughters, Lisa (Tom Crady) Bard of IA, Andrea (Skip Prue) Bard of NH; grandchildren, Peter Bard Crady, Scott Bard Crady, Samantha Bard Prue, Eric Bard Prue; sisters, Marilyn Biddle of Muskegon, Linda (Larry) Talkington; niece, Laura Livingston; nephew, Douglas Andrews. A service will be held on Monday, June 7, 2010, 2:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church UCC with Rev. Robert Livingston officiating. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can make a memorial contribution to Muskegon Community College.