Beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Dwight Bardwell died peacefully from complications of pneumonia surrounded by his wife and family on Friday, February 18th at Town & Country Manor Home in Santa Ana.
Dwight was 91 years old when he passed into the presence of his Lord and Savior. He lived a rich, full life and will always be remembered as humble, convivial and accepting of others, a friend to young and old, and a steady, loyal and hard-working family man.
Born on May 1, 1919 in the small hamlet of Gill just outside Greeley, Colorado, Dwight was raised on an 80-acre farm - so he knew how to handle a plow! His father Joseph Atwood Bardwell had married a local Greeley girl, Helen Richey, daughter of Colorado pioneers from before the turn of the century. Dwight's father and mother were active in the Gill Christian Church, and after retiring to Greeley, Joe was a deacon in the Evangelical Free Church.
Dwight attended Gill High School and played basketball on his school's team. Dwight's only sibling, Elizabeth Jean ("Betty") three years younger, would grow to adulthood just in time to join the Navy Waves during the war and later marry and settle down with home-town sweetheart Vincent Erickson on a farm in Platteville.
After high school, Dwight spent a year at Chillicothe Business School in Missouri and a following year at Greeley State. Six months before Pearl Harbor he and his best friend decided to early enlist in the Army Air Corps. After basic training at Camp Roberts, Dwight was accepted into Officer Candidate School, graduating in November 1942. A 3-month tour of duty took him to Kearns Field in Salt Lake City, UT where he met and fell in love with a pretty young woman named Deane Byrd, who was part of a church singing group that performed on base. He was then deployed to Adak in the Aleutian Islands for 18 months from March 1943 to October 1944.
Taking advantage of a 30-day furlough in November 1944, Dwight and Deane were married and had a short honeymoon followed by a move to Kelly Field, San Antonio where he had been reassigned. Following discharge from the USAF in 1945, Dwight returned to Greeley with his wife to start a family and where he would spend seven years with the Curtiss Candy Co.
In 1954, Dwight's Aunt Ida and husband Albert Jackson offered him a chance to relocate to California and work for Albert's company Whittier Steel & Manufacturing Company. The company provided a steady career spanning 38 years. After "retiring" at the age of 73, Dwight continued to plow for 14 additional years as a volunteer for Far East Broadcasting Company in La Mirada, a non-denominational, Christian radio network that broadcasts in more than 130 languages worldwide.
Dwight is survived by his wife of 66 years, Deane E. Bardwell, a son Tim and daughter Rebecca, daughters-in-law Marsha Bardwell and Deborah Lonsbrough Bardwell and son-in-law James Wallace. He was a loving grandfather to Meghan Wallace Kennedy, Nathan Bardwell, Lauren Wallace Keaney, Sarah Bardwell, and Amanda Bardwell and great-grandfather to Wallace Kennedy, Skylar Kennedy and Audrey Bardwell.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations in Dwight's memory to be made to the Far East Broadcasting Company, La Mirada, CA.