John Bardi

May 24th, 1947 - September 24th, 2020

Biography


John Francis Bardi died on September 24, 2020 at his home in Ventura, California. He is survived by his wife, Amy, his four children, Ty, Jason, Andy, and Ariel, and his two grandchildren, Georgia and Zack.


John’s lifelong passions were music and teaching. John picked up his first guitar as a teenager. By the time he’d graduated high school, he and his brother, Julian, had released several singles as the “Dagenites” (named after their mother’s hometown of Dagenham, London). John would spend the next six decades playing music, both in bands and as a solo artist, and was well known in his communities as a brilliant guitarist.


The first member of his family to graduate from college, John earned a bachelor's degree from Frostburg State University, a master's degree from the University of Toledo, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Missouri. John would go on to work for the University of Maryland’s overseas program in Japan and the UK, where he taught philosophy to off-duty US service members, as well as Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. He spent the final twenty-five years of his teaching career at Penn State’s Mont Alto campus, where his colleagues voted him teacher of the year multiple times before his retirement in 2017. John loved being a teacher, and took immense pride in the number of former students who contacted him over the years to thank him for being such a profound inspiration. 


In the late 1990s, John decided to start a cable access TV show on the ACTV public channel in Gettysburg, Pennslyvania. The “John Show,” which ran for over a decade and became a community staple, was an irreverent sci-fi-themed mashup of political commentary, philosophy, and rock guitar. In 2018 he published a novel, "Conversations with a Philosopher from Another Planet," which he based on the key themes and concepts from the John Show. Prior to his death, John had been brainstorming how to bring the show back on YouTube. 


For those of us who knew him, it’s impossible to capture what he was about in a few paragraphs. But we’re hoping this site will allow us to collect everyone’s memories in one place so that we can, collectively, begin to tell the story of the legendary John Bardi.

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Family

About

Name John Bardi
Date of Birth May 24th, 1947
Date of Death September 24th, 2020
Home Town Washington, DC, US 
Other City Ventura, CA, US 
Family

Family

SpouseAmy Lee Coy-Bardi
ChildrenTy Bardi, Jason Bardi, Andrew Bardi, Ariel Bardi

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Tributes



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John Evans published a tribute .

We were saddened to hear of John’s passing. He was much beloved(witness the number of condolences he received). Margret and I would like to add our names to that list. I trust the family is holding up. Love and regards from John Evans and family your Canadian cousin

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Marilyn Dolly published a tribute .

rest east, john, and thank you for some truly memorable musical moments here in gettysburg, over the years.
i never picture you that you aren't smiling that sweet, warm, welcoming smile! peace to the family and friends who will miss him so.

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Jay published a comment .

Met John at a lunchtime concert he performed at Ventura Co Museum, John had a great outlook and insights of life. I will miss him and his music. RIP!❤️

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Wylie Bean published a tribute .

JB, Birdman my goodness what a spirit of life. Deep thoughts, musician, "rolled with the day" laughter was a positive, caring, so much more. Every day when you spoke with JB was a treasure & somewhere in the conversation some wisdom would come forth, most interesting. I will think of you often my ADX brother.

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Cindy Kunkel published a tribute .

Knowing John twenty years has not nearly been long enough. I’d have preferred to have known him all my life. I was attracted and drawn to that magical spirit of his the first time I met him, loved him then.
Having just learned of John’s passing a day ago I am still trying to balance my gratitude for his life and my shock at this sad, sad news.
My hugs to all John’s family, friends and those who passed by him on the street. We all have been blessed.
See you later John

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Kelly Barley published a tribute .

Here is a photo of John playing guitar at my wedding in 2010. While that relationship has run its course, I look back and smile at this photo and feel so blessed that he was part of that day! He was amazing and lit up the room!

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Karen published a comment .

I never met John; however, I was a frequent caller on the John Show on ACTV. I liked his politics. RIP. Karen

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Jim Holton published a tribute .

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Jim Holton published a comment .

JB and me in 2004 at the 40th ADX Reunion

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Tasha Allen published a tribute .

My condolences to the family of Dr. Bardi. What a great loss. He will be missed.

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Rich published a tribute .

I was a student of Dr. Bardi's back in 2007-08 Mont Alto and he is the professor that really beyond words have had such an impact on my life and way of thinking. His cool and his calm, and approach to life, contagious and admirable. I did not get to speak to John after college but purchased his book and really always felt the essence of his presence in each page, his character was just so unique. He was a rare gem of a person,and will be truly missed but he does live on forever with the great individual that he was and through the many others I'm sure he impacted. May Dr. Bardi Rest in Peace

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Tom Cohan published a tribute .

As a educator, John Bardi had more impact on me during my time at Penn State than any other teacher I encountered there. A wonderful man whose legacy hopefully carries on. Rest well.

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Janis Bardi published a comment .

How do you put 63 years of memories into a few characters? As John's baby sister there are lots of memories. Some painful, losing our parents and especially losing Julian. Some funny like when we vacationed at the beach together and the ocean whispered to him to jump in. He came home dripping wet in 50 degree weather! Or maybe the Thanksgiving he promised the family an organic turkey. We didn't get it until Christmas and we swore it ran after him all the way to MD.
John was ten years older than me but always found time to listen to me and my words were important to him. He treated me like an adult, not a child. He and Julian bought me my first guitar and John taught me a love of music and how to play my new guitar.
We talked endlessly about philosophy and life and aliens and spirits around us. We believed there is so much more than we will ever know in this life and so much more to come in the next life, whatever form that may take.
John made me laugh, sometimes cry with him and always find joy. He always gave me unconditional love.
I will miss him more than I can say and await the time of being with his beautiful spirit again.

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Deb Collins published a tribute .

John Bardi will be forever in my heart as a bigger than life, man among men. His smile, his voice, the way he listened when you talked to him as though what you had to say was the most important thing he had ever heard. He was a magnificent musician, a brilliant thinker, and I'll continue to miss his presence in my life as I have since he left Gettysburg. My condolences to his greatest love, Amy, and his children.

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Jim Holton published a tribute .

We have lost one of the legendary early members of Alpha Delta Chi fraternity of Frostburg State College.

It's really difficult to know where to start. Each of us have our memories of the Bird, without a doubt one of the unique, gifted and iconic of the ADX Founders. What makes this news even more difficult to take is that we were together (on ZOOM) just 3 weeks ago on September 9. On that day, JB reminded us that those years we spent at Frostburg o long ago were precious and irreplaceable. JB talked about his book, the thesis of which imagined aliens from another planet coming to Earth and wondering what sort of creatures inhabited this place. Of course, the book is much deeper than that poor description but it showed how thoughtful and caring our beloved Brother Bird was. Incredibly, it was on that day that we learned of the death of his (and our) brother Julian (Lenny, LB to us). We have lost two of our most talented Founders. It is indeed a very sad day for Alpha Delta Chi.

We first met JB in 1965 as a member of the Dagenites, a garage band out of Prince Georges County. At the time, he and Julian were students at Oxon Hill High School. Our fraternity needed a band for our first campus Band Dance. Arrangements were made and the Dagenites showed up to play in the campus dining hall. We did not know what to expect but we certainly didn’t expect the Dagenites. They were loud, they were rockin’ and they were fantastic. JB was an artist on the electric guitar. No one had ever heard anything like JB. We threw open the windows of the dining hall and their music blasted across the campus of our little College. Students flocked from across the Quad to hear the first, real rock and roll band ever to hit Frostburg.
Fortunately, JB and later LB came to Frostburg and pledged our fraternity, Alpha Delta Chi. JB (or Jaybird, or simply The Bird) became one of the most beloved members of our brotherhood. His smile, sense of humor, his incredible talent, his brilliance and genuine love for his fellow man always shone through.
Few remember JB as a gifted athlete as well. He was an all-conference football player for Frostburg in 1966 and ran track. He was a soccer-style kicker when the method was still a novelty.
For most of us, the last time we saw John in person was at the 40th Founding Reunion at Rocky Gap in Cumberland, Maryland in 2004. JB came with his wife Amy and regaled us with a guitar solo during the reception at the hotel.

We will never forget JB. Rest in Peace, my Brother.

Yours in the Bonds,

Brother Jim Holton

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Andrea Pritt published a tribute .

I met John back in 2010 when I was hired at Penn State Mont Alto. From the very first time I met John, he exuded positivity, curiosity, and generosity. He was always willing to help his colleagues and always made time to stop and chat. No matter the topic, John shared thoughtful - and usually funny - critiques. His students admired him, not only because his classes were insightful, but because he truly valued their opinions. He encouraged and supported us as often as we needed it. Living in Gettysburg too, I would often run into John while he was biking around town or playing guitar in a local bar. No matter where he was, everyone gravitated towards him. I know I will never forget him. Sending love to everyone who knew, appreciated, and loved John.

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Andrea Theisson published a tribute .

My sincere condolences to John's family! What a character! I met him maybe 36 years ago, in Gettysburg, as a kindred soul discussing philosophy and art. He knew what a Zen Lunatic is, and we always reinforced each other over the years - he'd come to play at art receptions, too many to mention, and beam his positive light into all who attended! He recognized my car by the many bumper stickers, and I always knew him by his bicycling presence in town. Good vibes, indeed! His molecules have merely returned to the Universe. We will miss him!

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David Seitz published a tribute .

When I was hired by Penn State Mont Alto in 2012, I immediately gravitated to John Bardi--clearly this was someone I needed to know and could learn from. As a junior professor, John took me under his wing and we quickly became great friends. 6000 characters could never be enough to express my profound appreciation, respect, and love for this singularly unique person, but I will share a few thoughts here about what John meant to me...

John meant love. Yes, love, in all its forms, was a central focus of his scholarly research. But John embodied love every second of every day. He showed love to me when I was struggling with the death of a student (who had taken his own life)--he she'd tears with me and helped me make sense of the seemingly inexplicable tragedy. He showed love to a homeless man, who he let live in his backyard for months (years?) in Gettysburg. He showed love to his students, who treated as the thoughtful, intelligent, capable and yes flawed adults that they were, guiding them, accepting them for who they were, and nudging them closer to truth and consciousness.

John meant authenticity. What you saw was what you got--and what you saw you loved. He inspired me to try to be more authentic myself--to be myself and close the gap between what I say and say I believe and what I actually do moment to moment, situation to situation.

John meant joy. Whether discussing Diogenes' philosophy in his cramped but charming and ecclectic home, playing guitar together (he was much better than me, obviously, but he never made me feel less than) while sharing beers, or letting me sit in on his classes (I wanted to learn from the master!) and engaging me in funny yet insightful conversation as the students looked on, I felt nothing but joy in his presence.

I could go on and on, of course...

I am a self-deceived lapsed Catholic/atheist, but maybe I am now an agnostic if only for the hope that I may see John again in the afterlife. There is no one i would rather talk to and be in the company of for eternity than John Bardi. So like him, I will keep an open mind.

Much love to his family, friends, and everyone else who loved John.

David Seitz

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David Seitz published a comment .

Apologies for the typos, darn autocorrect. Meant self-described, etc. XO David

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Ray Miller published a tribute .

I volunteered at ACTV in 1999 and met John as the "John Show" was born. He was a fearless, kind, curious, gentle, funny guy. May his memory be a blessing to his friends, students and family.

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Shirley Ketrow published a tribute .

"I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body. I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me. I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me." A Navajo blessing that John and I often discussed, along with views on world religions. John will live on through his family and friends; his music; his love of life; his eternal friendship. May you and your family walk in beauty and harmony.

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Cheryl Wann published a tribute .

I met John, J.B., in 1968. We were in the same English class at FSU. We became friends and had many good conversations. He was a kind, gentle spirit. John always seemed happy and had an endearing smile . He loved life and all it had to offer. My sympathy to his family.

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Kelly Barley published a tribute .

Dr. Bardi (John) was one of the most influential people in my life, as a student at Penn State Mont Alto and beyond. As others have stated, his ability to light up a room with his positive, uplifting demeanor was like no other. He played guitar at my wedding, which also took place at Penn State Mont Alto, and I’ll always remember how he called me one day, saying how challenging it was to learn “Little Martha” and how much he loved the challenge and couldn’t wait to play it. He continues to influence my worldview and life trajectory well beyond Penn State. My sincere condolence go out to John’s family. His soul and legacy will live on forever. May you rest easy, John.

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Brandon Staub published a tribute .

John was such a great man, I was working with him a few years back to get The John Show on YouTube, I wish that we could have made that happen. I didn’t get to spend much tome with John, but the time I did spend with him was a very uplifting experience. I always left our hang outs feeling much better about myself because of his kind words. I will miss John and his positivity, the world could use more people like him. Prayers of peace go out to his family.

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Bill Serfass published a tribute .

Always with the positive vibes! John auditioned for the Gettysburg Civic Chorus a number of years ago when I needed a guitarist for some of our pieces for the concert that year. We met in the backyard of the Ragged Edge so that I could 'enlighten' him as to what was needed for the songs that required a guitarist. It was never really an 'audition'. I'll never forget that. His smile, positive attitude and words of wisdom were remarkable by any standard. Sometimes I see that thing he had in other people and it reminds me of him and that day.

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Luke Winand published a tribute .

John, or Doc and I often called him, was one of a kind. Never in my life have I met anyone so capable of effortlessly lighting up a room be it with his smile, laugh or endless wisdom. I had the privilege of jamming with Doc on and off the Mont Alto campus and can still picture him behind his guitar which , at least to me, seemed a most natural state. I will deeply cherish our friendship and never forget the influence he had on me.

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Jeannette Bardi published a tribute .

John's way of looking at life as a miracle was contagious. I've appreciated so much over the years how he would light up the room as soon as he walked in. He was always interested in what you had to say, was forever optimistic about the nature of man, was ready to engage in deep conversation, and was always so kind. I married his amazing brother, Julian in 1998 which already felt like heaven, and then on top of that I found myself part of this incredible family.

John and Julian, as well as being dedicated to each other as brothers were also the best of friends. I think many of you can relate when I say that we wore out the kitchen table with hours of conversation when he came to visit. The kids and other family members would join in when we were all together. Topics ranged from the condition of the world and spiritual existence to stories from the past reminiscing and laughing about all their adventures with the band and their travels. Then there was the music! One of their favorite pastimes together was to spend hours jamming in the music room, happy if anyone else wanted to join in.

John would also send us the most interesting gifts. I have a suit of armor in my family room that he shipped to us from Pennsylvania. It is designed somewhat in the style of the one that John has. We have a Renaissance look to our family room, so it fits perfectly and it will always be a fond reminder to me of John.

I am so sad that John is no longer here. I will never stop loving or missing both John and Julian, but I take comfort in imagining that they are on the other side together, enjoying endless conversation and playing their music. My love and condolences to Amy (his wife), John's kids, Janis (his sister) and to all who loved him.

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Eric B Gladhill published a tribute .

I had heard about the "John Show" from friends, but I never watched it. I met John when he was playing guitar as an opening act before our band played. He was such a nice guy; no ego and just kind and fun to talk to. I'm sorry that I didn't know him better. Blessings to the family.

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Casie David published a tribute .

Dr. Bardi was one of my all-time favorite professors. He connected with all of his students (including myself) over life, philosophy, and love of music. The way he thought was so innovative; it’s no wonder he captivated so many of us college students during his classes outside under the tree in front of the general studies building. He was one of the first professors I had who really believed in me, beyond just telling me I was getting an A in the class, but by telling a little 17 year old me that he saw me going places in the world. Coming from someone as great as him, calling it a compliment is beyond an understatement.

Everyone says John Bardi is legendary, and I fully agree with that. He is greater than his earthly self and his spirit and philosophies will truly live on in everyone he inspired throughout his lifetime.

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Jennifer L Bardi published a tribute .

JB and Jason, People's Climate March, Washington, DC, 2017

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Jennifer L Bardi published a tribute .

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Jennifer L Bardi published a tribute .

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Jennifer Bardi published a tribute .

I met John Bardi circa 2001 when I started dating his son Jason (now my husband of 16 years). Reading all these tributes, mixed with my own memories, has me awash in sorrow that this inimitable human being is gone. Inspirational professor, deep-dive philosopher, skeptic, and alien analogizer, braided-haired guitar hero, all-star high school football player, sports afficionado, and, two our two kids, colorful Grandpa John... just a huge part of our lives. He’d show up in December having somehow fit a Christmas tree into his Miata. In other seasons he’d bring a marble rye, which became an inside joke in our family along with a few priceless “JBisms” that we’ve had many laughs about over the years.

The singular characteristic I keep coming back to is his voice—the ideas he put forth but also its deep timbre and the cadence of his speech. He was someone you wanted to listen to. And it wasn’t all so serious either. JB could get downright giddy and he reveled in mischief as much as he railed against authoritarianism or injustice. His eyes would twinkle and his nose might pinch as an unabashed grin took over his face. With his brilliant mind, huge heart, and that voice—it’s no wonder he was a favorite professor of so many. To my husband (for whom my heart is breaking right now) he was a supremely proud father offering true kinship and wise counsel. I know all his kids and his widow Amy are hurting. Keep the good stories coming for them! RIP JB, you unforgettable man.

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Daniel Kulick published a tribute .

John was the first one to try out the New performace stage. I loved John's music and him sharing his beautiful soul with me! I will never forget those times. God speed John and prayers for peace to the family and friends of him.

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Pam Kauffman published a tribute .

So sorry for your loss. It was an honor to have known John. I took several of John's philosophy classes as an older adult student. After the first course, I was hooked. I was mesmerized by what he had to say and often couldn't wait until the next class. I loved to stop by his office and hear what was on his mind that particular day. What an amazing character, his smile, his laugh, the way he looked at you when he was being ornery. I can still see him brushing his dreads from around his face. Hoping the memories of John help you all cope with his loss.

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Don Marschke published a tribute .

I remember John and some of his antics and the guitar he carried with him almost all the time. John was very unique regarding his music talent and, in particular, his sense of humor. The last time I believe I communicated with John was in one of the Frat houses on Main Street in Frostburg. He was laughing and joking and having a good time about life in general. Each time I would see John after that I realized there was a much deeper JB inside of him. By reading some of the tributes that others have written I realize now each one of the observations I made were just small snippets of the larger JB inside of him. I will miss his sense of humor, his general knowledge and his talent not only with the guitar but in the world of education. JB, ADX was very fortunate to have you as a member of it's fraternity. I will miss you.

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Michael Calandrelle published a tribute .

I got to know John in the early days of Gettysburg Rocks. An event that he loved because it involved the Mont Alto students, music, and helping Four Diamonds.
Public speaking was always terrifying to me, but John was always there with positive encouragement because he said I had a story to tell that people needed to hear. He really helped me overcome a lot of that fear, because I knew he was right.
I will always remember having fun with him when I got to speak before his sets, and got to introduce him. He always played the early set on Saturday at Brew Works. He once jammed for a non-stop hour with two other local musicians as The Alien Hippie Jazz Trio! And another time before playing with other Mont Alto Faculty members without a band name, I introduced them as Dr John and the Professors! We had a great laugh about that. He was always very kind to Sharon and I. I am glad to have known him and shared some memorable moments in time with him. He will be missed. Much Love and Sympathy to the Bardi family. - Mike

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Alex Palmer published a tribute .

Dr. Bardi is an influential spirit. I met him first when I was just in high school. He is one of the reasons I decided to go to college. I had many classes with him and kept in touch even after I graduated from Penn State. The world will miss him, I will miss him, but his spirit lives on to all of those who he inspired. Sending my love and thanks to the Bardi family for sharing John with us. -Alex

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Tom Reinsfelder published a tribute .

John was a friend to all, especially at Penn State Mont Alto. It was typical to see a circle of students around John and he often held his class outdoors. He taught a few classes in the library and I always enjoyed listening in on the discussions, and remember how students regularly didn’t want to leave after the class ended. He has influenced and inspired so many people.

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Sarah Yoo published a tribute .

I first met John during memorial day weekend 2013. I had been dating Andy for a year and I was very nervous to meet the man I had heard so many stories about. John immediately greeted me with a big smile and even bigger hug. His warmth was contagious. I remember being in awe of his house filled floor to ceiling with books and neat trinkets like a life size knight in shining armor medieval statue.

This bigger than life man soon became my father in law and I could not have been more fortunate. There are so many fond/funny memories. The time John decided to wear his soft ugg slippers around our rescue dog Snow because he didn't like his hard threatening looking boots, all the times he came over for food and sports, the impromptu bongo drumming session we had in his kitchen in Gettysburg...there are too many to list.

I feel so lucky to call him family and l am heartbroken that our time has been cut short. I want to say thank you John for raising a wonderful son like Andy whom I am deeply, madly in love with and thank you for being the best father in law anyone could ask for. I will miss that "mmmmmm" sound you made whenever you were over for some Korean food and sports. I can still hear your voice so clearly in my mind. You will forever be missed, forever loved, never ever forgotten and you will always be a part of our life, with each milestone Andy and I take.

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Bonnie Jenkins Douglas published a comment .

I always thought John as the best guitarist I had ever seen. When we moved to Gettysburg in 2013, we met John several times for lunch and dinner, went to hear him play on First Friday at Studio 360 and had him over for dinner. He was truly a brilliant, nice and talented person. At the 50th Reunion, everyone had so much fun together. You will be greatly missed my friend.

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Kristina Dillon published a tribute .

I met Mr. Bardi when I was late to my philosophy class at Mont Alto due to a train. I didn't know he was Andy's dad at the time but found out later. He was honest and interesting to talk to and was happy to share a story.

I didn't interact with him much outside of school, which was a shame, as he had a personality one cannot forget.

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Andrea Christopher published a tribute .

Sending my deepest condolences to John's loved ones. My time at Penn State Mont Alto overlapped with John's for the entire time he was there. It is not an exaggeration to say he was one of my very favorite campus friends. He cared deeply, was unfailingly kind, genuine, and was just a lovely human. He really cared about students and often went out of his way to tell me how much he valued the work we did in Student Affairs to develop students' potential and to connect their in- and out-of class experiences. It was a wonderful, and unique, partnership. Whether he was performing his lively music at a campus event, providing thoughtful commentary at a campus meeting, teaching a class outside under the trees, or stopping by to compliment my staff on one of our programs (or my office's feng shui

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Andrea Christopher published a comment .

(Continued from above). or my office's feng shui

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Andrea Christopher published a comment .

Sorry this was cut off. I guess I have too much to say. Rest In Peace, my friend.

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Jason Murphy published a tribute .

I first met John nearly 30 years ago in his Philosophy class. Nothing was ever the same again. He made me look at the nuances in life more seriously, and at the seriousness of life with more laughs. We became friends and he was someone i came to greatly admire for being the unyielding good soul, cosmic fool, and brother to all who would embrace him. He softened my heart and inspired my mind and quite honestly was probably the responsible for me peaking, for the first time, down the paths I would eventually take. I cant say how much Ive thought of him fondly over the years and how happy it made me to know he was somewhere out there. I hope his passing was easy for him and his nearest loved ones. We all lost a treasure. I can see you smiling now my friend. Be well, wherever you are.

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Jeremiah Vingsness published a tribute .

Thank you for being you. Genuine people are hard to find and you will be sorely missed. Also, thank you for creating and raising people that I consider family. I love them and you.

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Ben Mearns published a tribute .

An inspiring soul -- remembering times spent at the community TV station and on the "streets" of Gettysburg. Journey on John. My warmest condolences to his family.

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Christina (Green) Yoder published a tribute .

I had the opportunity to take Dr. Bardi’s religion class at Penn State Mont Alto in 2006. I could have listened to his lectures for hours past our class time. He had a gift in capturing students’ attention and opening our minds to views beyond our own. He was one of the professors who inspired me to become a professor myself. He will be missed by many, and I’m grateful to have been one of his students. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

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Kelly Lesher published a tribute .

Dr. Bardi will truly be missed. I took one of his classes at PSU-MA because I could, not because it was required. Ended up taking another one because they were so interesting, I loved listening to his points of view and discussing mine. He was an awesome and inspiring person!! What a legacy!

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