A kind-hearted, thoughtful, understanding jokester was born Wayne Marion “Bardy” Bardin on April 5, 1955, at Fort Sill, Okla., to Wayne and Katie Finnegan Bardin. He joined a spitfire of a sister, Pennie, and two years later, another witty, compassionate brother was born, Chris. Bardy was a compassionate, forgiving and understanding big brother. Bard always made sure his little brother was protected, especially during the “senior hazing tradition,” and had the best toys ever. From Bard’s generous hands came Chris’s first motorcycle, first snow machine, first rifle and pistol.
Bardy grew up in Big Piney and attended kindergarten through 12th grade there. A talented young man emerged from Big Piney High School. Bardy played football and basketball all four years. At the Southwest Regional Tournament in Evanston during 1973, Big Piney beat its arch-rival Pinedale in overtime, 58-56, with Bardy scoring 17 points, just one behind his friend and comrade in arms, Solon Murdock.
Also for four years, Bardy was in interschool, district music festival, choir and the all school play. He participated in band, All-State Choir, stage band and Lettermen’s Club for three years. The State Stage Band and National Choral Award was given to him for two years. Bardy participated in All Northwest Chorus, Reno Stage Band Festival, junior class play, one-act plays and math-science club. He was prom king and homecoming attendant, along with being an officer for his class. With all of this, you would think he would not have had time to think up school mischief, but he did.
During the Junior High District Music Festival in Green River, the invisible twosome –Bardy and Sode played one of their shenanigans. Here is Sode’s version of the unraveling event:
“Bardy played first chair trombone and I just packed mine around hence Bardy played much better than I. While getting ready to perform a piece in the festival, Bard came over and very seriously said the music director said you must play this measure, this measure and this measure. I said, ‘I thought you were playing a solo.’ Bardy said, ‘They decided you should do this.’ We came to the end of the previous piece being played, so it was time for Bardy to perform. When the measure came up Bardy had told me to play, I huffed, blew and honked on my trombone. Over my shoulder, I could see how many people were booing. Needless to say, I went through the embarrassment of playing my short solos in front of 200 to 300 kids listening to our hideous rendition of the song.”
Now the tables turn in another episode of “As the World Turns” in Bard and Sode’s world. Bardy and Solon attended automotive class otherwise known as shop. For this next shenanigan along with their teacher, the two deserving participants, Sode and Bard, received a reprimand. According to Solon:
“The girls were getting ready to go to a track meet and there was nothing to do but to get the stretch bus back into running order, as a u-joint was out in the driveline. Bardy was put in charge of replacing it, which under most circumstances was a relatively easy job. The pressure was on to get the old stretch bus – many of you will remember it – fixed. We were always one to help each other in critical situations. Bardy had the driveline installed and asked me to crawl under to see if it was up to speed. So very shortly thereafter, I grabbed the creep off the wall. I climbed aboard and slid under the vehicle for an inspection and advice. After a brief inspection, I said, ‘You could burn rubber out the door.’ The bus was pointing toward the door. Bard jumped in the bus, revved it up and put it in gear. As he pulled toward the door the driveline fell on the floor. This was a terribly crucial moment since we had let down the shop teacher, the girls’ track team and on up the line to the superintendent. So I somewhat evened the score on the music festival. I did still feel bad for Bard getting a bad chewing out, so I helped him get the u-joint and driveline installed and everyone got to the intended place.”
Bardy’s music talent was a wonderful gift, and he was so accomplished he received a scholarship to the University of Wyoming in music. It was not his interest though. Mike Thomas, another school friend, said, “If Bard had not taught me my first three guitar chords, I probably wouldn’t be singing today.” Bardy sang at one of his young friend’s funeral and would not sing in public again. During high school, Bardy worked for the Bray Ranch. Bardy rode bareback horses and bull dogged during high school but quit when he scrapped his knee dogging in 1977.
After graduation, Bardy went to work for Skyline Construction driving trucks and worked there until 1980. Bardy’s compassion, understanding and forgiveness were always showing up even at work. Bardy’s brother Chris also worked at Skyline Construction and remembered, “Bard took the time to make sure a lot of us who worked at Skyline Construction knew how to operate the push cats, scrapers and transports. He was a patient teacher with few harsh words but always a strategic, witty comment to make you laugh and drive his point home.”
On the 4th of July in 1976, Bardy and Carole began their romance at the Waterhole, following the rodeo. Carole wrote the following:
“Bardy was riding the saddle that hung above the Waterhole. We fell madly in love, and by the end of the summer we were engaged. We married on Jan. 8, 1977. All of Sublette County joined for one big celebration. From then on, we spent the next 30 years together.
“We were living in Clifford and Sophia Daniels’ house on Middle Piney when Taylor decided to come into this world. We made a wild ride to Jackson just in the nick of time. Bardy was yelling at the doctor ‘it’s coming!’ “Taylor Chip” came into this world on March 10, 1978. Taylor was the joy of our lives. Our little family was so much joy and happiness to Bardy.
“When Taylor was two, we moved to the Richie Vible Ranch in Boulder. Bardy became part of the ranch, and we all worked together as a ranch family does. On a wet haying year Aug. 24, 1984, our son Garrett was born. Now our beautiful family was complete. Our little family had so many years of loving, wonderful memories in our home on the ranch.
“Bardy was a very caring, compassionate, loving man, who cared and loved his family dearly. His sense of humor was a gift enjoyed. Bardy, thank you so much for being the loving father, husband and provider that you were. You left us with many memories we will carry with us. I’m at so much peace knowing you and Garrett are now together, Rest in peace my friend and son.”
When Bardy went to work on the ranch, he realized part of a dream. Bardy had always said, “All I ever wanted to do was work on my grandparents’ ranch.” Now he was working on a ranch.
In 1992, Bardy went to work for the Sublette County Sheriff’s Department as a detention deputy. From 1993 to 1995, he was on patrol duty. During that time, dear friends who saw flashing lights behind them would pull over wondering what they had done wrong only to have Bard walk up to their car and say, “Have you heard this joke?” One time, he was going down the Cutoff Road, put his lights on and pulled over at the turnoff where Milford was watering his trees. Over the loud speaker he announced, “Put your hands up and step to the car.” Michelle yelled to Jeannie, “They have come to get Dad.” Jeannie replied, “It is about time.” Oh that Bard, we loved that one for his humor, kind nature, love for his family and friends, which makes him unforgettable.
Bardy was patrol sergeant from 1995 to 2000 and became a lieutenant in 2000. He served as Sublette County Sheriff from 2005 to 2011. During this nearly 19 years in law enforcement, Bardy received many thank you cards, and he saved every one because they meant so much to him. The family read through them and here are some of the thank yous and thoughts written in the cards that show just what a wonderful man he was, especially in adverse situations even if it was hard on him:
“I just want to say thank you for hauling me up here, not too many people would do that ...”
“Thank you for once again saving my life and giving me another chance to recover ...”
“Many thanks for your kind assistance (in finding a job) ...”
“At long last, thank you for help and friendship ... helping me get to Pinedale and calming me down ...”
“I really appreciate your comforting words to the children ...”
“Thank you for everything you do ...”
“We wanted to tell you thanks for all that you have done and support you have given our family ...”
“Just a note to say thanks so much for calling last night and encouraging him ...”
“Simple things can change peoples’ lives. Simple ordinary people can do great things. We want to thank you for your efforts above and beyond the call of duty ...”
“Thank you for bossing. You are the best boss ever ...”
Bardy never judged a person until he put himself in their shoes and looked at the situation from the individual’s circumstance. Bardy was always kind and passionate to everyone. When he stayed with Pennie and Gary in Laramie, he made so many friends by visiting with everyone. He would take a homeless veteran to breakfast. One time, Pennie had Bardy dress up as the Easter Bunny to hide the eggs for the kids. Bard was not impressed with his new uniform and job. He did it, but he announced, “I will not hop.”
Family meant everything to Bardy. Pennie remembers, “His love for Gram and Grandpa Finnegan was amazing. We didn’t know for years, but in the eighth grade, Bardy started cutting their fresh Christmas tree and helped them decorate it after they moved to Pinedale. He never told anyone. He was like that.” Bardy was so much like his Grandfather Finnegan, which can be seen in this expert of Grandpa Ed Finnegan’s obituary, “Ed was a warm, wonderful family man of sterling character and reputation. He possessed a marvelous and unique sense of humor, which made him a great favorite with people of all ages. He often spoke of himself as being a citizen of all of Sublette County.”
Bardy loved his family, including his grandchildren. Bardy called Grandma Katie to tell her Taylor and Brandon had a girl to round out their family with son Bennett, and they were going to name their baby girl Afton Katie, but he was going to call her Star Valley Kate. Taylor was the apple of his eye. Taylor wrote the following:
“I lost the first man I ever loved and at 35, I still called him daddy. He was such a quiet, gentle man with a huge heart and an amazing sense of humor. The life lessons he taught me are countless and I am so grateful for each and every one. He made sure I knew how much he loved me and his grandkids everyday, and I know he lived his life to make sure his family had everything they needed. He was never the same after we lost Garrett, and I am so comforted knowing that they are together again and he no longer has to fight his painful demons. Truly rest in peace my daddy, I love you.”
This world needs more people like you, Bardy ... more people who are willing to leave things a little better than they found them to reach out with compassion ... people who are willing to put all selfishness aside to do the good, right, kind thing – just because they know it will make a difference someday to someone. Milford posted this to Taylor:
“Your dad and I had many great times together. His kind heart and great sense of humor will be missed. A truly great man who was loved by us all. May he finally be at peace.”
Bardy said, “I can truly say...I drank to kill the pain caused by pain of drinking.” Bardy lost his son Garrett in 2008, which he never got over. Now that Bardy has passed away on Nov. 16 in Mesquite, Nev., he is finally at peace with Garrett. God bless both of you.nFor the complete article see the 11-29-2013 issue.
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