Bardi McLennan, 91, of Newtown died peacefully October 27, surrounded by her family. She was a lifelong Connecticut resident, born in Woodbury on March 4, 1926. She wrote a long-running column in The Newtown Bee until 2012.
Her three children, Douglas McLennan and wife Maria of Newtown, Wendy Hamilton of Memphis, Tenn., and Gordon McLennan of North Dartmouth, Mass.; her grandchildren, Mindy Hamilton and Maron Hamilton of Venice, Calif., Graham McLennan of North Dartmouth, Mass., and Fiona McLennan of Gig Harbor, Wash.; a great-grandson; and her beloved Welsh Terrier survive her.
Anyone who knew Mrs McLennan would know that she would not like to be fussed over and that she led a remarkable life.
When her father came to America, he had a kennel of French bulldogs, which started her lifelong love of dogs.
She traveled to England during the war at the age of 17 in a convoy of liberty ships that crossed the Atlantic. She ended up working for the US Army in England during World War II. She met and married a Royal Air Force pilot at the tender age of 19.
From these colorful beginnings, Mrs McLennan became the perfect blend of writer, dog person, and Welsh Terrier fancier. Her passions, writing and dogs, defined her life.
For 18 years, while raising her children, she was the editorial assistant to etiquette queen Amy Vanderbilt. While working for Ms Vanderbilt, Mrs McLennan not only wrote many of the columns for McCall’s and Ladies’ Home Journal, she continued writing them for many years after Ms Vanderbilt’s death.
Mrs McLennan also created and wrote a variety of etiquette pamphlets. She soon found herself writing a daily column, seven days a week, for 232 major newspapers across the country.
She helped with the White House Wedding December 9, 1967, of Lynda Bird Johnson.
After she had her fill of etiquette advice, she answered yet another newspaper ad for a researcher for popular novelist Erica Jong. Afterward, she said she was able to focus on her first love: writing about dogs. Mrs McLennan teamed up with her son, Douglas, to write and produce a series of radio spots called the Canine Minute for WMMM 1260 AM in Westport. They then went on to create the first audio tapes on canine care under the Canine Consultant brand.
Mrs McLennan was the author of more than a dozen books about dogs, puppies, children, and various terrier breeds. A winner of the 1991 Kal Kan Pedigree Award for outstanding journalism on pet care, she penned the advice column “Ask Dog Fancy” for Dog Fancy magazine for 15 years. Based on those columns, she wrote a book of the same name.
She also wrote feature articles for the AKC Gazette, all major canine publications, and trade magazines. Mrs McLennan won several top awards from the Dog Writers Association of America. Her bestselling The Welsh Terrier Leads the Way was the first definitive book on the breed.
A longtime breeder and exhibitor of Welsh Terriers since the mid-1960s, Mrs McLennan built up her kennel “Bardwyn” and produced numerous champions and many top-producing dogs. Her dogs earned American Kennel Club titles in conformation, obedience, and at earthdog trials, and she judged numerous competitions.
Mrs McLennan, along with four other Welsh Terrier Club of America members, formed the Glyndwr Welsh Terrier Club in January 1977. GWTC was her passion, and she truly loved attending the events when she could. With a mind as sharp as a tack until her last day, she kept tabs on the results of all the shows, as well as all the dog news. When she was not watching dog shows, she kept up with the Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown races, and televised tennis matches.
The family will be holding a private service.
In honor of her lifelong love of dogs and her book Rescue Me, the family asks that donations be made to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation Inc, PO Box 3571, Newtown CT 06470, or cvhfoundation.org.