Cover photo for Mary Vander Velde Bardeen's Obituary
Mary Vander Velde Bardeen Profile Photo
1942 Mary 2022

Mary Vander Velde Bardeen

January 18, 1942 — July 2, 2022

Mary Vander Velde Bardeen was born on January 18, 1942, to Jean and Kenneth Vander Velde, in Detroit’s Harper Hospital. The family lived in Redwood City, California, during World War II while her father was in the Pacific, and then moved to Kalamazoo, MI, where they settled. After high school in MI, Mary returned to California to attend Stanford University. She took the opportunity to participate in a study abroad program for a year in Italy. Italy deeply impressed Mary, whose quick mind absorbed all that Florence had to offer, its history and art, the rich food and language, the Uffizi, the Medici, and the friendships of her fellow students; especially her life-long friend, Bob Frank. Years later, Mary would return to Italy on her honeymoon. Even though she was never a morning person, in Italy, she was up at the crack of dawn to explore and experience. After Stanford, Mary returned to Kalamazoo where she met Bill Bardeen, whom she married following a whirlwind romance. Bill gave her an Austin Healy 3000 as a wedding gift. She enjoyed speeding down the road, with the top down, the music up, and she raised talking her way out of speeding tickets to an art form. While raising her four children, Mary also developed her love of Oriental rugs. When Mary found something interesting, she could learn and retain everything she learned, and this was certainly the case with Oriental rugs. She would say, “Some people look up for inspiration, I look down”, where she saw the intricate beauty of Tabriz, Bokhara, and Afghan rugs. Mary and her family moved to Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, and explored Detroit undeterred during this tumultuous period in Detroit’s history. Mary did not blink at driving across the city to find the best Scottish shortbread or the best Polish crown cake. She also enjoyed the music, the dancing, and the energy that Detroit offered. After her divorce and with her kids grown, she moved to Ann Arbor, MI. Her four children would return there for holidays and sleep on the floor of her 1-bedroom apartment because where she was, was home. Her last few years were spent living in Mequon, WI, near her oldest daughter, Jenny. She passed away peacefully on July 2, 2022, while surrounded by her four children and the love of her family. Her passionate love of language, art, and above all, her love of beauty, is shared and will live on in those she leaves behind – Dr. Chris Bardeen & Dr. Kerry Hanson, Jenny Bardeen & Dr. Bryce Nelson, Sarah Bardeen & Paddy McCully, Kathy Bardeen & Sean Sandell; her eight grandchildren; her brother, Dr. Kim (Margie) Vander Velde; her sisters Connie Vander Velde and Joanie (Robert) Kullgren; and her many nieces and nephews. The family will hold a memorial service in Michigan to celebrate Mary.
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