2007.05.06: May 6, 2007: Headlines: COS - Colombia: Obituaries: Seattle Times: Obituary for Colombia RPCV Bill Bullard

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Obituary for Colombia RPCV Bill Bullard

Obituary for Colombia RPCV Bill Bullard

Mr. Bullard retired in 1976, and he and his wife promptly joined the Peace Corps, spending 1 and a half years in Colombia helping to plan new national parks there. Most of the volunteers were much younger, but "we could keep up with them pretty well," Jean Bullard said.

Obituary for Colombia RPCV Bill Bullard

Bill Bullard, devoted outdoorsman, dies at 86

By Eric Pryne

Seattle Times staff reporter

After working for two days in 1949 as a ranger/naturalist at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, leading tourists through ancient cliff dwellings, William "Bill" Bullard came home and told his wife, Jean: "I want to do this for the rest of my life."

So he did.

Mr. Bullard spent 27 years with the National Park Service. During a long retirement, he and his wife volunteered in such disparate locations as Colombia, New Guinea, Egypt and China, working to protect parks and advance environmental education.

Mr. Bullard, who lived in Seattle the past 18 years, died April 27 from complications related to heart surgery. He was 86.

Daughter Wendy Jackson, of Seattle, said he never lost his curiosity about people or the world, listening to shortwave-radio broadcasts from overseas to get information unfiltered so he could form his own opinions. A magazine from Saudi Arabia was one of his favorites, she said.

Mr. Bullard was born in McCook, Neb., then moved to Colorado with his family during the Depression. His lifelong love of the outdoors may have come from his years in the Boy Scouts, which introduced him to camping, hiking and fishing, his wife said.

After serving as an Army X-ray technician in North Africa and Italy during World War II, Mr. Bullard enrolled at what is now Colorado State University, then transferred to the University of Denver, where he received a botany degree.

He met the woman who was to become his wife in a club whose members hiked, climbed and skied in the Colorado mountains. They married in 1947.

The botany degree led to the job at Mesa Verde and Park Service career. Parks at which Mr. Bullard worked included Yosemite, Death Valley and Mount Rainier, where he spent four years in the mid-1960s.

Sometimes the living conditions were primitive. Jackson recalled Park Service staff housing with no telephone service and no electricity during parts of the day.

While living at Longmire at Mount Rainier, Jean Bullard said, she and her husband gave their younger son, Kent, then a kindergartner, a new bicycle — but told him it would be taken away if he ever rode it off the path while going to and from school.

One day he came home sobbing and confessed that he had left the path — to avoid a bear.

After Mount Rainier, Mr. Bullard took a leave of absence from the Park Service so he and his wife could take their four children on a 15-month trip around the world.

His final years with the Park Service were spent in Washington, D.C., where he became "like a missionary almost for environmental education," his wife said, and in the regional office in Denver, where he helped plan new park visitor centers.

Mr. Bullard retired in 1976, and he and his wife promptly joined the Peace Corps, spending 1 ½ years in Colombia helping to plan new national parks there.

Most of the volunteers were much younger, but "we could keep up with them pretty well," Jean Bullard said.

The Bullards lived in Carbondale, Colo., before moving to West Seattle in 1989 at the behest of their daughters.

In Seattle, Mr. Bullard was a master gardener and an active volunteer with the Mountaineers.

In addition to his wife, Jean, and daughter Wendy, Mr. Bullard's survivors include daughter Janne Endreo, of Seattle; son Kent Bullard, of Ventura, Calif.; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Another son, Bill, predeceased Mr. Bullard.

The family has planned a gathering to celebrate Mr. Bullard's life from 4 to 6 p.m. May 31 at Merrill Gardens, 4611 35th Ave. S.W., Seattle. They ask that remembrances be made to the Southern California Biodiesel Users Group, P.O. Box 7817, Ventura, CA 93006, www.socalbug.org.

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Headlines: May, 2007; Peace Corps Colombia; Directory of Colombia RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Colombia RPCVs; Obituaries; State of Washington; The Peace Corps Library; Peace Corps History; Bulletin Board; Recent Peace Corps News

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Story Source: Seattle Times

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