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Visvaldis "Wally" A. Bardins

September 23, 1948 ~ June 16, 2022 (age 73)


Visvaldis A. (Wally) Bardins, 73, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, died Thursday, June 16, 2022 in Petoskey, Michigan. Born in Germany after World War II in a displaced persons camp, his family immigrated to the United States in 1952 and lived in Ionia, Michigan, then later in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He had two brothers, Vilis and Imants.

He was drafted in 1967 and served in the Army stateside at Fort Carson, Colorado where he worked in munitions and nuclear weaponry. In 1969, he attended Michigan State University, and subsequently worked in criminal justice in the Upper Peninsula.

On May 20, 1978, he married the love of his life, Kathryn Ballowe, in Denver, Colorado. Together they dreamed of starting a family and being together forever. Wally led a varied and interesting life and was a man who loved to tell stories, of which he had many. He loved to talk to everyone and everyone loved to talk to him. In 1983, Wally, Kathy and daughter Sarah moved to Minneapolis where they welcomed their son, Matthew into the world. In 1991 he began working in hospitality and found working as a bellman was the perfect job. He was able to touch the lives of so many who came through his hotel, regaling them with incredible stories and helping so many people lost in storms. After moving to Petoskey in 2006 he continued this path with the Odawa Casino as a car and limo driver. He found joyous conversation with every person that rode with him from celebrities and sports stars to local residents and tourists, all enraptured audience to his life.

He loved to fish, and metal detect, play cards, and talk. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Kathy, his daughter Sarah Kathryn Bardins Snider, her husband Joshua Snider, and granddaughter Diane Bird Snider; and his son, Matthew Patterson Bardins, and wife Shelley Rae Gill; his brother Vilis Bardins, and his wife Sue Bardins.

He was preceded in death by his father Janis, his mother Marta, his brother Imants, and nephew Ryan.

He was a loving husband and father, a true character with a story every minute, who cared deeply about his country, his community, and the welfare of children and families. The family suggests memorials to Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan to honor him.

There will be no visitation or memorial service. The family plans to celebrate his life later in the summer.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Visvaldis "Wally" A. Bardins, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Visvaldis "Wally"

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