Richard David Barden, 87, of Casco Township, South Haven, passed away June 24, 2018, at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Richard was born July 28, 1930 in South Haven, the son of Richard and Opal (Johnston) Barden. He graduated from South Haven High School in 1949. Richard’s father passed away when he was 15, leaving Richard and his mother to operate the family fruit farm. For a decade, Richard attended Michigan State University each winter term, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture in 1959. Richard married Mary Frances Merlau in 1960.
Richard worked as an agricultural chemical sales representative and consultant for FMC and Grower Services. For a couple winters, he taught the elementary class at Lacota School. Richard influenced countless friends, colleagues, students, and young musicians with his wisdom, practicality, zest for life, and the twinkle in his eye.
Richard was a Mason and an active member of Casco United Methodist Church and Kiwanis. He sat on the boards of both the Allegan and South Haven School Districts, and in 2017 he retired from the Van Buren Intermediate School District Board after 41 years of service. For 34 years, Richard was a member of the Allegan County Conservation Board of Directors. For many years, he also performed piano for the Michigan State Horticultural Society’s annual banquet. For recognition of his commitment to community service, Richard was honored as South Haven’s 4th of July Parade Grand Marshall in 2016.
Throughout his life, Richard was a passionate musician, performing on piano, organ and marimba at many churches and community gatherings throughout Michigan. He played bass drum in the Casco Band for many years, following in the footsteps of his father. Richard also directed the Casco Band from 2000 to 2015. Demonstrating his commitment to honor the nation’s veterans, Richard organized a Memorial Day service featuring the Casco Band for over 40 years.
Richard and his wife, Mary truly valued genuine connections. They enjoyed running a Bed and Breakfast from their home, collecting and selling antiques, and dining and socializing with many people throughout the community. They also always kept up with what was going on at the Barden’s Farm Market, owned by their son and daughter-in-law.
Richard was preceded in death by his wife, Mary. He is survived by daughter Kristin (Greg) Rorrer, son Richard (Laura) Barden, grandsons David and Mark Barden and Chris Rorrer, granddaughters Jane Barden and Julie Rorrer, and honorary grandchildren Katie McCann and Kyle Diederichsen.
Visitation will be held from 6-8 pm on Thursday, July 5, 2018 at Filbrandt Funeral Home in South Haven. The funeral service will be 11 am on Friday, July 6, 2018 at the Casco United Methodist Church, followed by lunch. Burial will be at McDowell Cemetery. Contributions may be made in Richard’s memory to the Casco Community Band or to Casco United Methodist Church, 880 66th St., South Haven, Michigan, 49090.