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Bob Barden

Bob Barden

June 24, 1928 July 20, 2019

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Obituary

Obituary for Bob Barden

Bob Barden’s autobiography describes him as a man who led two lives. In fact, he led many. He was a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was a business leader, an entrepreneur, and a civic figure in Ann Arbor. He was an outdoorsman, a handyman, a hunter, and a skilled airshow pilot. He was a self-made man who was proud of his accomplishments, yet gracious to others. He was the type of man who knew everyone in a room – if not before he entered, then certainly by the time he left. He was equally at home shooting pool with the “old guys” down at the Ann Arbor Club or doing daredevil stunts and piloting a wing-walking act above awestruck crowds at air shows. Robert James Barden died July 20, 2019 at Glacier Hills Senior Living Community. He had lived 91 remarkable years. He was born June 24, 1928, in Saginaw, Michigan, the oldest son and third child of Leo and Margaret Barden. After graduating from Saint Peter and Paul High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1946-48, including a tour of service in Japan after the war. He delighted in telling his young children that the Japanese surrendered when they heard the “Saginaw Kid” was coming. Returning home, he married the former Margaret Horny in Saginaw, Michigan in 1952, and went to work as a manager of Household Finance. By 1960, the couple took their future to Ann Arbor where Bob joined the Ann Arbor Credit Bureau, a firm he came to own, grow, modernize and eventually run with two of his children, Bob Jr. and Kathleen. His grand-daughter, Beth Barden, today is co-owner of the firm, which is now known as Arbor Professional Solutions. Bob was a fixture in the Ann Arbor business community, especially with the downtown Kiwanis Club where he generously gave of his time, talents, and financial support. He served as the club’s president, a position also held by two of his children. Bob was also a recognized leader in his industry, serving as president of the national Association of Credit Bureaus. He was a proud member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, whose emblem was on one of his most frequently worn caps. Bob was also a skilled airshow pilot, and organized dozens of airshows featuring the Ann Arbor Airforce who delighted crowds with their aerial acrobatics across the Midwest. He flew at the famed Oshkosh (Wisconsin) airshow and was a member of the International Council of Airshows. Robert James Barden is survived by his wife, Margaret, of 67 years; a sister, Jean Bauman, of Saginaw, four children, Kathleen Barden Perlberg of Brighton, Robert (Marti) of Dexter , Barbara Barden (Tom Carlson) of Ann Arbor, and Mary Barden (Robert Perry) of Royal Oak; seven grandchildren, Beth Barden of Ann Arbor, Robert (Katie) of Chelsea , Jennifer Barden (Oussama Maamar) of San Diego, James Perlberg (Loren) of Birmingham, K.C. Perlberg of Chicago, Robert Perry III of Royal Oak and Johnathon Perry of Royal Oak; and two great-grandchildren, Briar Rose Barden and Lily Barden of Chelsea. Preceding him in death were two brothers, Jerry and Joe, and two sisters, Marilyn Furlo and Rosemary Merriell, and an infant son.Visitation will be held at Nie Family Funeral Home, 3767 W. Liberty Rd., Ann Arbor, from 3- 7 pm with a Rosary at 7 pm on Thursday, July 25, 2019. A Funeral Mass will take place at 10 am Friday, July 26, 2019 at St. Thomas Catholic Church, 530 Elizabeth Street, Ann Arbor. Friends and family are welcome to gather at 9 am with Family Reflections at 9:45 am.Memorials donations can be made in honor of Bob Barden at: The Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor or St. Joseph Mercy Hospice.

To send flowers to the family of Bob Barden, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
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Service Details

  • Second Visitation

    Thursday July 25, 2019 | - 7:00pm
    Nie Funeral Home Inc
    3767 W Liberty Rd
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Thursday July 25, 2019
    - 7:00pm
  • Visitation

    Thursday July 25, 2019 | 3:00pm - 7:00pm
    Nie Funeral Home Inc
    3767 W Liberty Rd
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Thursday July 25, 2019
    3:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Service

    Friday July 26, 2019 |
    St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church
    530 Elizabeth St.
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Friday July 26, 2019
  • Memorial Gathering

    Friday July 26, 2019 | 9:00am - 10:00am
    St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church
    530 Elizabeth St., MI
    Friday July 26, 2019
    9:00am - 10:00am
  • Interment

    Washtenong Memorial Park
    3771 Whitmore Lake Road
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |

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Beautiful Dreams was purchased for the family of Bob Barden.
Comment | Posted at 12:00am via Condolence
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Enchanted Cottage was purchased for the family of Bob Barden.
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Dr. Kathleen C. Smith

Dear Mary. May our Lord bless you and your family as you lay your beloved father to rest. I wish I could be there to wrap my arms about you and tell you "all is well" and to remind you that he is with our Heavenly Father doing the things that Angels always do. Sisterly Love, Dr. Kathleen Smith, WSU/BOV
Comment | Posted at 12:00am via Condolence
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Your colleagues in the Irvin D Reid Honors College

Your colleagues in the Irvin D Reid Honors College purchased the Sweet Tenderness for the family of Bob Barden.
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Chris Barden

It didn’t take plane rides, sundaes, garage sales, trips to K-Mart, endless hours of playing billiards, rides in the convertible and the world’s funniest stories for Knight and I to love our Uncle Bob with all of our hearts, but the fringe benefits were awesome. You will always be in our hearts as we work on continuing your legacy. Missing you - your nephews, Knight and Chris Barden.
Comment | Posted at 12:00am via Condolence
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