Greenville, Maine: Vida Valentine Meeteer Bardsley of Greenville, Maine died peacefully on Friday, September 4, 2015.
Vida is survived by her children, Donald Bardsley and his wife Jayne of Charleston, Illinois; Timothy Bardsley and his wife Diane of Sturbridge, Massachusetts; Grace of St. Charles, Illinois; and Ruth McLaughlin and her husband Daniel of Greenville, Maine. She also leaves behind fifteen grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren, her dearly loved sister Winifred Brown, her favorite sister-in-law Bette Meeteer, both of Waynesboro, Virginia and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband The Reverend Harold A. Bardsley (1919 -1985), her cherished brother William Wesley Meeteer (1927 - 2000), and precious, stillborn, great granddaughter Olivia Taylor Bardsley (2012).
Vida was born on October 7, 1925 in East Orange, New Jersey to Herman S. and Mary C. Meeteer. At age 16, she was accepted to the Julliard School of Music in New York City where she studied voice performance with Bernard Taylor. On May 26, 1944 she married Harold (Hank) Bardsley. The couple lived in many places as Hank's ministry (first with New Tribes Missions and later as an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church) took them coast to coast until finally taking the pastorate at the Federated Church in Huntington, Massachusetts in 1953 and remaining there until Hank’s death in 1985.
In the 1970's Vida became a permanent substitute teacher in the Gateway Regional School District (K-12) in Huntington, MA. She then decided to return to college to attain a BS in Music Ed. from Westfield State College, MA in 1978. In 1980 she was hired as full-time Activities Director of the Westfield Manor Nursing Home. Shortly thereafter, at the behest of the owners of the Nursing Home, Vida earned her license to practice Social Work and held that position from 1982 to 1991.
In 1991, Vida moved to Illinois to become full-time ‘nanny’ for two of her grandchildren and also took the position of church organist at the First United Church of Christ in Forest Park. Six years later she became Director of Christian Education at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles, Illinois. In 2005, Vida moved one final time to Greenville, Maine where she ‘retired’ from ‘full-time’ work at the age of 80. There she graced the Union Evangelical Church as church organist, choir director, Christian Education Director, and ladies Bible study leader. She volunteered at the Food Pantry, the Thrift Shop and prepared and led services at the nursing home. If there was anything she thought would help other people, she did it.
Vida was an accomplished and gifted musician. Her gorgeous, rich soprano voice was often heard as a soloist in the church and community choirs in which she sang. More so, she loved God and served Him in every community in which she lived and in every church in which she worshiped. Church music and Christian Education were her primary life’s work and the people across the country blessed by her strong faith are countless. She was kind and generous with her time, talent, and resources. She loved her family and they loved her. As a mother she was wise, fair, consistent, available, forgiving, and caring with a great sense of humor!
Vida's family is grateful to the hospital staff at C.A. Dean Memorial Hospital for their exceptionally dedicated and kind care of Vida during her two-month stay there. Thanks also to all who sent cards, gifts, flowers, food, and music to Vida and the many friends who visited her. Deep gratitude to Vida's hairdresser, Lea, who washed, trimmed, and dyed part of her silver/white hair pink as Vida lay in her hospital bed. It was a “highlight” of Vida's last days! And finally, many, many thanks to Kevin and John, the EMTs who donated their own time, going far above and beyond, to take Vida to the Union Church and carry her up a steep flight of stairs all to fulfill her wish to go to church one more time before her death. It was a joyful celebration of the God she loved and served her whole life long and became her ‘celebration of life’ service while she was still living!
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Union Church, Vida Bardsley Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 368, Greenville, Maine 04441 or The Oak Hill Bible Church, Olivia Taylor Bardsley Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 277, Oxford, MA 01540.
A graveside service is scheduled for Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM at Norwich Bridge Cemetery in Huntington, Massachusetts.
All are welcome to attend.