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Gretchen's Story

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Gretchen Mayer Bard, 81, died on Aug. 30, 2017 at Munson Hospice House following a brief series of illnesses.
Born Dec. 6, 1935, Gretchen grew up in Fairview Park, Ohio, the daughter of Kenneth F. and Ione Miller Mayer, and younger sister to Jean Mayer Merrill (Arthur Merrill), who preceded her in death.
Gretchen graduated in 1957 from The College of Wooster, where she met Terry Bard, her husband and steadfast partner for 60 years.
While living in New Haven, Connecticut, Gretchen worked at Sterling Memorial Library (Yale University).
Following a short time in Newark, Ohio, Gretchen and Terry moved to Columbus, Ohio, where she helped Terry in the development of a new Presbyterian Church. For 30 years they made their home in Findlay, Ohio, where Terry was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church (FPC). Gretchen's generosity was evident not only in her support of Terry's work, but also in her own innate commitment to putting others' needs before her own.
Amazing baked goods and jams seemed to effortlessly appear from Gretchen's kitchen and many remember her amazing Christmas open houses at the manse.
Gretchen worked for Family Services of Findlay, Hancock County, and later served as director of the FPC Nursery School. She used her love of children's literature to influence the lives of many young children. This affection led her to be an avid collector of children's books, and she enthusiastically shared her favorites.
Upon retirement in 1998 Gretchen and Terry moved to Crystal Lake in Beulah, where she enjoyed volunteering at Interlochen Center for the Arts for 15 years, tending to her spectacular gardens and making hundreds of jars of jam each summer. They've enjoyed living in Traverse City since 2014.
Gretchen took great pride in providing her daughters with opportunities to pursue their passions. In return, she enjoyed the beauty of Sarah's ballet and Becky's music. When she was blessed with grandchildren, Gretchen unquestionably became the epitome of a grandmother. "Grammy" loved reading her children's books to them and found a special sense of joy in sharing tales from her own childhood.
Gretchen's stories will continue to be shared by Terry; daughters, Sarah Rogers (Randy), of Bloomington, Indiana, and Rebecca Somsel (Steve), of Traverse City; grandchildren, Drew and Eliza Somsel and Abby and Mac Rogers; and many beloved friends.
Those wishing to remember and honor Gretchen's determination, inspiration and grace may consider a memorial contribution to one of the following, BACN (Benzie Area Christian Neighbors), 2804 Benzie Highway, Benzonia, MI 49616; or to The Mazza Museum (International Art from Children's Books), The University of Findlay, 201 College St., Findlay, OH 45840; or to Munson Hospice House, 450 Brook St., Traverse City, MI 49684.
The family is being served by Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
Published on September 1, 2017
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