ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Richard Allen Ard, who owned and operated Ard’s Printing Company in Robertsdale with his wife Marjorie for more than half a century, was laid to rest Monday, April 10 at Rock Cemetery in Robertsdale.
Ard, a native of Baldwin County and a resident of Silverhill, died Wednesday, April 3 at Thomas Hospital in Fairhope. He was 83.
“He truly was a pillar in our community,” said Robertsdale Mayor Charles Murphy. “Their business was a great asset to the city of Robertsdale for many years and our regrets and condolences go out to his loved ones for their loss.”
Ard was born July 10, 1935 at the family home in Summerdale, the eighth of 13 children born to Charles D. Ard and Della Howard Ard (10 boys and three girls).
Survivors include two sisters, Helen Kilgore of Mobile and Essie Underwood of Foley; his wife of almost 59 years, Marjorie Meyer Ard; four daughters Lucy (Mark) Fowler of Montgomery, Lisa (Martin) Spencer of Silverhill, Nancy (Tim) Spencer of Silverhill, and Penny (Donnie) Avera of Fairhope; son, Richard (Brenda) Ard Jr. of Loxley; 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
He served just three weeks in the U.S. Navy before receiving an honorable (medical) discharge when it was discovered that he was hard of hearing and was always one or two steps behind the other recruits in basic training.
He began learning about printing at the age of 18 when he began working at the Fairhope Courier newspaper. He and his wife Marjorie opened Ard’s Printing Company in Robertsdale on April 1, 1965, operating the business for exactly 54 years until April 1, 2019.
Active in community service, he served on the first board of directors of the Central Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Cattlemen’s Association, a former member of the Loxley Optimist Club, a former member of the Robertsdale Kiwanis Club and a former member of the Gideons.
“He was a good friend for many, many years,” said Loxley Mayor Billy Middleton, longtime member of the Loxley Optimist Club. “He was a good person and we’re certainly going to miss him around here.”
Ard was an active member and deacon of Belforest Christian Church, where he attended many years. Previously, he was a deacon at Robertsdale Christian Church.
“He did a lot of work for the Styx River Volunteer Fire Department through the years,” said Hubert Dunbar. “He was a fine man and a good friend.”
In addition to printing, Ard enjoyed farming; some might say it was his hobby. His small herd of cows kept multiplying and people often stopped to watch him let the cows across the road. At the time of his death, he had 13 calves, 16 cows, and one bull.
He enjoyed growing blackeyed peas, corn, okra, watermelon and other crops, which he frequently shared with others.
Visitation was held Sunday, April 7 at Mack Funeral Home, followed by funeral services Monday from the funeral home chapel with burial at Rock Cemetery.
The family requests memorial donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or to Gideons International.
Arrangements were made by Mack Funeral Home & Crematory, Robertsdale. Online condolences can be made at mackfuneralhome.com.
Information for this report provided by Mack Funeral Home with additional reporting by Onlooker co-editor John Underwood.