The Guilford Poets Guild lost a beloved, longtime member, Pat Bullard, who passed away on January 9, 2012. Her hometown newspaper of Carmi, Illinois, the Carmi Times, published this obituary on January 19, 2012.
Patricia Gilpin Bullard died in peace at home on Jan. 9, 2012, surrounded by her husband and children after 83 years of living life to the fullest.
She was born at home on April 25, 1928, in Carmi, to Ruth Bowman Gilpin and Samuel Arthur Gilpin. She was the oldest of four children.
Reading poetry, singing, helping those in need, and riding and showing her horse were precious parts of her childhood. These gifts followed her into her adult life. In 1948 she was graduated from Frances Shimer College, where she studied the Great Books curriculum, setting the stage for a life of appreciation and study of literature. She met H.B. Bullard in the summer of 1947 while he was assigned to Carmi by the Carter Oil Co. Their relationship blossomed through correspondence after he left Carmi, and they married on Nov, 14, 1948.
Their first home was in Purcell, Okla. They moved 13 times over the next 20 years but almost always spent time each summer at a beloved camp in the Adirondacks. One of the transformative moves of their life together was in 1960 to Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, in England, where they lived for seven years. During this time Pat and Ben traveled widely in Europe and the Middle East, often in connection with Ben’s work developing oil fields in Iraq and Abu Dhabi.
Pat settled into British life with aplomb, disarming neighbors and friends with her outgoing personality, hospitality, charm and outlandish stories. She was an asset to Ben in his career, entertaining business colleagues at their home and serving as a witty and beautiful companion at company social events.
When they left in 1968 to return to the United States, Pat left behind many dear friends, with whom she stayed in contact through the years with letters, calls and visits back and forth.
Pat and Ben settled in North Guilford, Conn., where they built a house on a ridge with a view of Long Island. They joined North Guilford Congregational Church, where Pat was an active and beloved member. Pat worked for a short time for the Homemakers in Clinton. It was in Guilford that Pat started to write poetry seriously, something she continued for the rest of her life. She was a member of the Guilford Poets Guild and was published in Caduceus, Connecticut River Review, Poets at Art Place, Embers, The Cymbalists and two Guilford Poets Guild Anthologies.
In 2009, Cairns, a collection of Pat’s poetry, was published by her cousin, Win Colwell. That fall she gave a reading from Cairns at the Greene Gallery in Guilford to an appreciative audience of friends and family, including all four of her children and a number of grandchildren.
Pat’s gifts of hospitality and love were experienced by countless friends and acquaintances. She offered the hand of friendship to all, and she gave generously of her time and money, supporting many charitable organizations. When asked toward the end of her life what was the most important life lesson she would like to share, she answered, “always be kind.”
Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren gave her great joy, and each one considered her an important and influential person in their lives. This was demonstrated towards the end of her life, when she had a steady stream of family members coming to help out at her home.
Central to her life was her beloved husband, to whom she dedicated Cairns: “To Ben, who took me to places I couldn’t have imagined and made me see the familiar with new eyes.”