Baird M. BARDARSON, M.D. October 28, 1926 ~ October 28, 2010 Pioneer Abortion Provider - Champion Sailor - Community Activist Baird Bardarson, 84, of Seattle and Whidbey Island passed away Thursday, Oct. 28 after an illness of five months with his family around him. He was born in Seattle to Gertrude and Otto Bardarson but grew up in Carmel, California where his father was the Superintendent of Schools. After leaving High School in Carmel he attended UC Berkeley until he was drafted into the Army January of 1945. He served as a lst Lieutenant in the Constabulary Corp in Germany until his discharge in January of 1947. Returning to UC Berkeley, he studied there until1948 when he transferred to the U of W. where he completed his undergraduate studies in 1950. He met and married Peggy Bullock there in 1951. Baird was accepted at five medical schools but chose the fledgling UW and graduated there in 1955. He entered Family Practice in Renton in 1956 and he and Peggy made their home there for 35 years. Baird bought his first International 14 sailing dinghy in 1951 two weeks after his marriage. This was the first of many racing dinghies which he owned and campaigned around the world until his retirement from racing in 1999. He won the I-14 National Championship three times in the 1960s. Competing many times in the UK, he was honored twice with Replica Trophies during Race Week in the Prince of Wales Cup at Cowes for placing in the top five in a fleet of 90 boats. He was a member of Seattle Yacht Club and Corinthian Yacht Club. In 1978 he and Peggy boughttheir cruising sail boat, 'Bright Star' which they sailed in British Columbia every summer for 31 years, making many trips to the Queen Charlotte Islands. Particularly fond of the area north of Vancouver Island, they explored there until 2009 when they sold the boat. Always concerned about the equitable provision of medical care to all those in need, he worked hard for fair sharing of care to welfare patients by King County doctors. He became the first Chief of Staff of the new Valley Medical Center when it opened. In the 70's when abortion became legal in the State of Washington he began providing first trimester procedures at his Renton office. His family practice was soon overwhelmed by the volume of abortion patients. He then became a leader in procedures utilizing new technologies and was the first to introduce them to Washington State, helping to change the state code. He served on the national boards of the National Abortion Federation and many pro-choice organizations. His clinic was the target of protests and vandalism many times, but he remained dedicated to the providing of safe, legal abortions. He retired in 1991 after 35 years of medical practice in Renton. Retiring to Freeland on Whidbey Island, he and Peggy became active in the local Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Over a 10 year period Baird led the effort to plan and build a new Meetinghouse that was finished in 2008. This enabled UUCWI to move from rented space to its present location. Baird pursued his interest inthe Icelandic heritage of his father and made many trips to Iceland. At the Nordic Heritage Museum he studied the language and served as President of the Icelandic Club. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Peggy, their five daughters, Siri, Karin, Berit, Lisa (husband Jon Reichlin) of Philadelphia and Linnea (husband Joel Wolfe) of Boston, and grandchildren Seth Sobottka, Lily Reichlin, Jonah and Reuven Wolfe, his brother, Linne Bardarson and wife Dot of Seward, Alaska and numerous nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Baird's life will be held on Sunday, November 7,at 1:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island, 20103 State Route 525, Freeland, Washington. Memorial gifts may be made to Planned Parenthood or Amnesty International.
Published in The Seattle Times from October 31 to November 3, 2010