One of the many bonuses of writing this column is hearing from faithful readers of this newspaper and the Valley Life columns. My recent column about the pup Jacco elicited a thoughtful and interesting email from one such reader.
Bud Bard wrote about his beloved wife Molly, whom he lost to cancer in June 2020, and her love for little Chihuahuas. Molly worked as a volunteer for the Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue Association and took in over 300 rescued Chihuahuas during the course of 15 years. At one point, she and Bud had 11 dogs in their house after one of the rescues gave birth to four puppies. Bud speaks fondly of Molly’s last rescue, Gomee, who still keeps him company today.
Bud and his family own a cabin and property up Lost River Road, but their history in the valley goes back a long ways. Molly’s father Jud Longmoor was a forest ranger in the Methow. He and his wife, Mary, introduced Molly as a child to the Pasayten Wilderness, which led to her lifelong love of nature and hiking. In a memorable place in history, Jud and his good friend Jack Wilson went together to scope out the possible location of the North Cascades Highway with representatives from the Washington State Department of Highways before the road was built.
Since I have good friends that I have known since before kindergarten and graduated high school with, I was especially interested in the connection Bud shared about Molly and two lifelong friends from her 1954 graduating class at Twisp High School. Karen Filer Knapp and Nell Park Sundberg predeceased Molly, but all of their lives, the three kept in touch and remained fast friends. Bud wanted to memorialize their special friendship. Thanks to him, their names and the names of Molly’s parents will appear on the donor door of the new Winthrop Library. When the library is complete, I intend to pause there for a moment to remember these remarkable people of the valley.
I was curious about Bud’s life story and found his background to be impressive. First, Bud and Molly met on a blind date in 1959. What a long life they shared together. After their marriage, with encouragement from his boss at Puget Sound Title Insurance, Bud and Molly traveled all throughout Europe for a year. This experience in the international community was the beginning for Bud in building a partnership with other cultures.
Upon return to Seattle, Bud completed a master’s degree in Russian and later became University of Washington’s Foreign Student Advisor and Executive Director of Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS). He later founded the American Cultural Exchange, which became a leader in language education and cross-cultural training in the U.S.
In 2019, the Consul General of Japan in Seattle awarded the Imperial Decoration “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” to Bud. This honor recognizes individuals (typically heads of state, royalty, and politicians) “who have made distinguished achievements in international relations and have meaningfully promoted Japanese culture around the world.” This is the third-highest order bestowed by the Japanese government, certainly an outstanding honor for Bud Bard.
Bud also was worked with Sister Cities in Seattle as president and statewide as coordinator for Sister Cities International. Many Washington cities have sister cities in Japan, including Okanogan whose sister city if Kagoshima, Japan. Omak also has a sister in Summerland, B.C., Canada.
Thank you, Mr. Bard, for emailing and enriching myself and readers with your and Molly’s life works.