Arthur Bardenhagen


Arthur Henry Peter Bardenhagen was born Sept. 29, 1926, in Brooklyn, to his German immigrant parents Henry Peter and Meta (nee Heitmann) Bardenhagen. His folks owned a German deli in Brooklyn; he grew up in the apartment where his parents were the building superintendents in Queens. Learning many skills from them in repairs and electrical work, he later was able to complete many home projects- preparing his daughters to do the same.

He graduated from Newtown High School in 1944 with a degree in fine arts. Summers he caddied in the Poconos. He enjoyed competing in ballroom dance competitions. When he was 14, he was invited to join the Arthur Murray Dance Studio- they needed male dance partners. He learned from a professional dancer and taught his future wife and daughters, sharing his lifelong love of ballroom dancing.

Art enlisted in the United States Navy in September 1944 taking courses in submarines, radar and sonar with his main course for radioman in San Diego, serving on the USS Orion. He earned an honorable discharge in July, 1946.

In 1947, he began his career at The Irving Trust Bank on 1 Wall Street as a clerk in international operations. Thus began a 73-year best friendship with colleague, Jim Stubenrauch. Art graduated from the American Institute of Banking and went on to the Stonier School of Banking at Rutgers University. 

Art married Elizabeth Deborah Colgan on Sept. 30, 1950. He returned to the Navy Reserve during the Korean War in December, again as radioman, beginning in Corpus Christi, Texas, and then in Panama. Finishing his service in April,1952, he was honorably discharged from the Naval Reserves in 1954.

Betty and Art bought their first home in Massapequa, Long Island early in 1953. Resuming his career at the Irving Trust Bank, he commuted on the Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway into Manhattan for over 30 years. They celebrated Susan’s birth in 1953; Gail in 1956; Carol in 1960, and Ellen in 1963.

Each summer family vacations took them from Canada to Florida, including visits with his Navy buddies’ families. Art served as a lay minister of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. Many families of the church were added to the Bardenhagen family’s circle and remain to this day. Art and his friends were avid tennis and racquetball players.

His job responsibilities took him to Europe, eastern Asia, and Australia. Betty and Art took trips to Italy and England; she also accompanied him for annual bank conventions. Art and Susan visited Ellen during the summer solstice in Alaska; he and Ellen traveled to Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon; he traveled to Nags Head with Gail and her family. There were many family reunions at Carol’s farm in DeLancey.

Art chose to retire early in 1988 when he was vice president of the international banking division, to take care of Betty, diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He assumed the role of both parents while comforting and taking care of her for 14 years- demonstrating his love for his wife and daughters, making it possible for family and friends to feel the love and strength of a beautiful woman. They moved to Fayetteville in 1992 near Gail; Betty succumbed to Alzheimer’s in 2001.  

Art loved big band music, Broadway, and theater and instilled in his daughters an appreciation for listening and attending live performances, though they each have genres they prefer. He truly enjoyed volunteering as a disc jockey at senior centers around Syracuse; he volunteered for the Alzheimer’s support group; and was awarded the 2001 Volunteer Senior Citizen of the Year from Onondaga County. 

Art was a wonderful brother, husband, father, uncle, Opa and friend. With Betty, he nurtured four daughters to be self-confident and encouraged their aspirations to become a teacher, physical therapist assistant, mothers, horse farmer and trainer, and chemical engineer and financial analyst. 

Arthur Bardenhagen died peacefully at home surrounded by his daughters on Jan. 7. He is survived by daughters Susan Bardenhagen, Gail (David Rhodes), Carol (Kevin Gutliph), and Ellen Allman; two special nephews Ray Kreiger (Jane) and Robert Kreiger (Tony Thompson); five grandchildren: Lauren (Eric Knuth), Larissa (Scott English), Zach Rhodes (Chelsey), Mabel Gutliph, and Dr. Amanda Gutliph (Gordon Finch); nine great-grandchildren: Mia, Gavin, Liam, Ella, Fiona, Braeden, Kennedy, Griffin and Brenna; special lady and best friend Barbara Kriesel; and several nieces and nephews. 

He was predeceased by his younger siblings - Henry in 1993 and Joan Huber in 2020, and nephew Kenneth Huber in 1968. 

The family has scheduled a private service and military burial, with a celebration of Art’s life planned for late spring. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Alzheimer’s disease research in memory of Betty or a charity of choice in Art’s name.