Obituary Details

Gerald "Gerry" Douglas Bardo

(12/10/1908 - 06/09/2002)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 06/12/2002

Gerald Douglas Bardo

A service of worship and celebration of the life of Gerald Douglas Bardo, 93, will be held Saturday, June 15, 2002 at 2 P.M., at the Congregational Church of Lusk. Burial will follow in the Lusk Cemetery. Following interment, a public reception will be held in Blish Fellowship Hall at the Congregational Church.

Gerald Bardo died peacefully at his home on June 9, 2002.

For more than 67 of his 93 years, Gerald had been in love with and married to Jane, who was with him when he died. He was a man who instinctively liked people, was curious about their activities, and looked for the positive in almost everyone he encountered. Until his death, he remained vitally interested in his family and community.

Gerry was born Dec. 10, 1908, in Vinton, Iowa, son of Earl M. and Elsie Blue Bardo. After farming near Platte, S. D., his family moved to Lander, Wyo. in 1915.

His father died prematurely in 1919, and Gerry and his younger brother Dale were thrust into the newspaper business, first delivering the Denver Post, and later apprenticing at the Wyoming State Journal under the guidance of L. L. Newton.

Although they industriously helped their mother support the family, Gerry and Dale also enjoyed an idyllic boyhood, fishing the streams at the foot of the Wind River Mountains.

By the time he graduated from high school in 1929, Gerry had developed a taste for journalism, had become a fairly capable printer and linotype operator, and hired on as a sheep tender on livestock trains which carried him to and from college in Nebraska. There he participated in gymnastics, played tuba in the marching band, and in 1932 graduated from the University of Nebraska with a certificate in journalism.

With few journalistic opportunities during the Great Depression, Gerry returned to the Journal in Lander until being employed by the Wahoo (Neb.) Wasp in 1934.

While back in Lander, Gerry met and married and (sp) adventurous piano teacher from Minneapolis, Jane Towler. Unaware that Lusk would play any role in their future they spent their wedding night in the Ranger Hotel.

They moved to newspaper and piano teaching jobs in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Staples, Minn., where their two children were born.

In 1941, James B. and Nellie Griffith hired Gerry to manage their newspaper, The Lusk Herald, and in 1945 they made him partner and co-publisher. Essentially all the printable and unprintable news in Niobrara County flowed through that office, and from that vantage point Jerry could see all the facets of the community. He became actively involved and used The Herald to publicize and support worthy causes. His goal was always to unify his community and to display the accomplishments and humanity of its citizens.

At heart, Gerry was an educator, both by persuasion and example. As a Boy Scout leader he encouraged boys to develop a love of the outdoors and compassion for their fellow beings. He intentionally hired young men and woman from a variety of backgrounds for apprenticeship in journalism, photography and printing. While they learned his trade, they also learned about fairness, laughter, industriousness, good-natured pranks, and integrity - not just from Gerry, but also from the remarkable group of people with whom he worked at the Herald.

As a school board member in the early 1940s, he used the newspaper and personal diplomacy to help Niobrarans see the advantages of consolidating their 13 school districts. He served on the Wyoming Citizens Committee for Education from 1954-1958, and was a delegate to the first White House Conference on Education in 1955.

Gerry was a devoted member of the Congregational Church of Lusk and played about every role from groundskeeper to moderator of the Wyoming Association of Congregational Churches. He wrote the centennial history of the local church and was an ardent and self-taught student of biblical history. In a "mid-life crisis" he contemplated leaving the newspaper to study for ordained ministry, but sense of obligation to family, co-workers and community held him here.

In 1957 The Herald purchased the Lusk Free Lance and in 1959 the Harrison Sun.

He was himself never a politician, but his keen observation of the political process gave him access for nearly 40 years to local and state leaders whom he would enlist for his community's improvement and development.

He became fascinated with what paleontologic mysteries might be hidden in the fossil beds at Agate, Neb., and encouraged their development into a working National Monument.

Such efforts did not end with his retirement in 1978. Later his writing and testimony in Federal Court helped persuade its judges to override legislation which had eliminated Niobrara County's direct representation in the Wyoming State Legislature. In concert with his former partner and the Wyoming State Auditor, the late Jim Griffith, Jr., he was instrumental in selection of Lusk for the construction of the new Wyoming Women's Center.

During his years in Lusk, Gerry participated in the Wyoming State Guard, the Legend of Rawhide Pageant and several musical productions, including a Lion's Club presentation of South Pacific in which he played the heroine!

He was a member of the Lusk Chamber of Commerce, Masonic Lodge, Wyoming Press Association, and was a director of the Stockman's National Bank.

As a member of AARP, he attended the White House Conference on Aging in 1981. He and Jane received several awards for community service.

Throughout his life, Gerry was an avid gardener and observer of wildlife. In the 1980s he directed a planting and beautification project at the Lusk Cemetery.

Survivors are his wife Jane, of Lusk; a daughter Lucy Lee Bardo Harms and her husband Ben, of New Marlborough, Mass.; a son Dale Douglas Bardo and his wife Rina, of Wilton, Maine; a grandson Andrew Douglas Harms of Oakland Calif.; and two granddaughters, Alisa Maria and Leslie Janette Bardo of Minneapolis, Minn.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Congregational Church of Lusk or the Niobrara County Library Foundation.

Cicmanec-Pier Funeral home is in charge of arrangements.

Images & Attachments

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Gerald "Gerry" Bardo
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Gerald Bardo, long-time co-publisher of The Herald
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Gerald Bardo, Stockmans National Bank Director
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Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Bardo, 1984
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Jane and Gerald Bardo, 1989
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Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Bardo celebrate 65th Anniversary, 1999
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Photo courtesy of Joshua Brackett's Eagle Scout Project
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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Bardo, Helen (11/05/1910 - 04/07/2000) View Record
Obituary Bardo, Dale (05/20/1912 - 06/05/2000) View Record
Obituary Bardo, Mary (01/24/1906 - 11/15/2002) View Record
Obituary Towler, Margaret (02/26/1904 - 01/05/1979) View Record
Obituary Bardo, Elsie (12/10/1881 - 09/02/1979) View Record
Historical Niobrara County Library History, part 1 by Muriel Dalgarno View Record
Historical Niobrara County History Series, Part 3 View Record
Historical Quilt Project - Connecting the Threads of the Past View Record
Historical Lusk Herald Began 100 years ago View Record
Historical Churches of Lusk View Record
Historical Niobrara County School District No. 1 is 50 years old View Record