Peggy (nee Tarshis) Bard passed away at the age of 96 and three quarters (exactly) on February 28, 2023 at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Beloved wife of over sixty-two years to Bernard Bard (who passed away in 2018) and mother to Stephen Bard, Ruth Bard and Philip Bard (who died as an infant). Peggy also held dear her daughter-in-law Lori Bard, her five grandchildren Michelle and Melissa Bard and Benjamin, Maya and Kate Rampel.
Peggy was described by friends and family as someone who was kind, nonjudgmental and “full of grace.” She lived her life not so much driven by needing to be “right” but more as seeing the good in all people, even if they shared different politics or values.
Peggy was incredibly bright….even at age 96 she was beating her children and grandchildren at games of “Words With Friends.” She was an avid reader and still reserving books at the Pittsboro Library well into her 90’s. In her 80’s and 90’s she was taking classes at the Duke Fitness Center pool and made wonderful friends there.
Peggy Bard was born to Leah Rebecca “Bessie” (Greenbaum) and Elias “Ted” Tarshis in London, England in 1926.
Peggy grew up in London and was a big fan of the theater and the ballet. Her father was an auctioneer at a large London auction house, specializing in Estates. Peggy was a very bright student and even was awarded two scholarships for secretarial school based on her high test scores. She was the youngest of three….her older siblings were Edna and Cyril.
She was the same age as the Queen of England and remembers seeing her and her Lady In Waiting at local shops and at the Ballet. Peggy remained a British Citizen her entire life, even after moving to the United States in 1953.
Peggy was thirteen years old when World War Two started. There were bombings, air raids, men sent to war and rationing of food and supplies. As a “Girl Guide” she volunteered during the war and helped women and children evacuate London and settle into more rural areas. Peggy remembers her father walking home with black tape and material to cover the windows of her home to prepare for the war. He was the last one in the neighborhood to tape up his windows, not wanting to believe that there would actually be a war.
The war had a huge impact on Peggy. She described herself as a believer in “Fate” and said that as a teenager she was not too worried about the bombs. She would say “If the bomb has my name on it so be it.”
After the war Peggy worked as a secretary for a British film production company known as The Archers Group. She typed manuscripts and assisted Micheal Powell and Emeric Pressberger. They collaborated on 24 films but Peggy most remembers “The Red Shoes” as she worked directly on the film and it became quite famous, both in the UK and in the US. In her later life she loved stumbling upon “The Red Shoes” being broadcast on television as it reminded her of her days working in the film industry.
During the war there were many United States servicemen (GI’s) based in London. Peggy’s older sister Edna met G.I. Lester Stein at a dance. The two married in London and Edna was known as one of the “G.I. Brides”. These were women who married American soldiers and were then allowed to move to the U.S.
Edna and Lester resided in Merrick, Long Island and had three children (Robert, Phillip and Marjorie). Edna invited Peggy to come to the states and visit for a year. At first Peggy resisted as she loved her job in London, and did not want to leave friends and family.
After a year or two Peggy randomly ran into a friend of her mother’s who invited her to get a cup of coffee. During that get-together Peggy was urged to think more seriously about traveling to the US as she was young and single and the older woman felt it was a great opportunity to travel and see the world.
Peggy later described that serendipitous meeting as “Fate.” She said that she likely would have never moved to the States if not for that chance meeting. And of course that chance meeting changed the course of her life (as well as impacting so many other lives in the future).
So, at age twenty-six, Peggy moved to the U.S. (intending to stay for a year) and lived with Edna and her family. At first she got jobs as a babysitter and she later recalled that the American women loved having a nanny with a British accent. She later got a job at a company that imported beaded handbags and in her free time she loved going to the theater in Manhattan.
One weekend she joined a few friends and they went out to Montauk, at the tip of Long Island. They went to the Montauk Manor and at the end of the evening Peggy was waiting for her friends and standing in the lobby. A young man was seated near her and said to Peggy. “Why don’t you take a load off and sit down?”
With that romantic opening line Bernard Bard started getting acquainted with Peggy Tarshis and invited Peggy and her friends to go out with Bernie and his friends. As they said goodbye Bernie explained that it might be hard for him to call Peggy as he worked the Night Shift. At first Peggy interpreted that statement as meaning that she would probably never hear from Bernie, and then she wondered if he worked as a baker. She ultimately she learned that he was a newspaper reporter who worked the graveyard shift.
Bernie was not one to be impulsive but when he learned that Peggy had plans to return to England at the end of the year he asked for her hand in marriage. They had only been dating six weeks. They kept their engagement a secret for several months as Peggy was concerned that her family would think she had lost her mind.
The couple married on June 19, 1955. They lived in Queens and later Long Island until 2008. Bernie and Peggy brought up Stephen and Ruth and provided lots of love, opportunities and adventure. Peggy joined the bowling league and was active in the Community Reform Temple in Westbury. The family purchased a motorhome and took numerous vacations all over the United States and Canada.
In 2008 Peggy and Bernie relocated from Westbury, New York to Pittsboro, North Carolina to be near Ruth and her family.
While living in Fearrington Village Peggy participated in the Havurah (Jewish Fellowship group) and collected food for PORCH (a local group which was created to fight hunger). Although she was in her late 80’s and early 90’s, Peggy would collect food from her neighbors in a little red wagon and then would coordinate drop off so the food would go to families in need.
When the COVID pandemic started in March 2020 it became hard to maintain social connections but her neighbors started meeting regularly outside (they later named themselves “The Lyndfield Ladies”). Over time the women learned more and more about each other and their histories and lives. They all helped Peggy celebrate her 95th birthday and the outdoor socializing became an antidote for the Pandemic isolation.
Peggy was also incredibly grateful to Beverly Burnette. They met in 2008 when Beverly started house cleaning for Peggy and Bernie. Over the years the bond between Beverly and Peggy was strong and Beverly was fiercely protective over Peggy, calling her “My Little Lady” and going above and beyond to take care of Peggy’s needs. Peggy described Beverly as a “blessing” and Beverly was a huge factor in Peggy living independently until age 96.
Peggy Bard was a strong, brilliant and loving woman. She religiously watched The Late Show With Stephen Colbert every Friday night. Peggy loved listening to her granddaughter Kate play violin. She was a huge fan of Duke Blue Devils basketball and even attended games with her son (Stephen is a Duke alumni) well into her 90’s. Even at 96 years old she embraced technology: she was texting her kids and grandkids and posting on FaceBook. She made an amazing beef brisket, matzoh ball soup and was revered for her Mashed Cauliflower with Parsnips.
Peggy loved to drive and had her driver’s license renewed at age 95. She was still driving to CostCo (as of December 2022) to buy the $1.50 hot dog, almond danish and holiday gifts.
Peggy created connections and relationships with people in so many facets of her life….she became so close to Donna at the bank that Donna would call Peggy at home if she had not seen her in a while. She played Words With Friends with a woman in Scotland that she was randomly matched with: Caroline. While in the hospital, on the day of her death, Peggy asked Ruth to message her friends who were waiting for her to play her turn, and let them know she was in the hospital.
Her friend Caroline, who she had never met (but sent messages through the App and learned about each other’s lives) wrote:
“l am heartbroken to hear about your mom, she was such a sweet, kind and intelligent wee soul… It was a pleasure to play this game with her all these years, she was as sharp as a knife and always kept me on my toes, l will miss her terribly.”
In 2015, when asked how she would want to be remembered, Peggy responded:
“I always tried to be a kind and accepting person- I tried to live my life that way.”
She clearly did.
If you would like to donate to a charity in Peggy’s memory please donate to Planned Parenthood: www.weareplannedparenthoodaction.org Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. Attn: Online Services P.O. Box 97166 Washington, DC 20090-7166.
Peggy was a strong advocate of a woman’s right to choose.
Memorial being planned. Details to follow....contact Ruth at: email@example.com for details.
Condolences may be made at www.donaldsonfunerals.com
Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory is honored to serve the Bard family.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. Attn: Online Services
P.O. Box 97166 Washington, DC 20090-7166, Washington, DC WA 20090-7166